Opinion » Letter From The Editor

Stay in the Woods



Hillary Clinton gave a speech last week in her father's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. It sounded a lot like one of her campaign speeches, filled with folksy anecdotes and awkward "plain talk" and a story about bathing in the local lake as a child because her father's humble cabin had no shower or bathtub.

Then she said: "I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going."

On behalf of one who voted for you, Mrs. Clinton, I humbly ask that you stay in the woods a while longer. Draw strength from the forest, not the spotlight. Yes, I wish you were president instead of the prevaricating buffoon who now holds the office, but you're not. At this point, you will be a distraction from the only political drama that matters: whether or not President Trump and his campaign aides colluded with Russia to undermine our democratic process.

Clinton is reportedly going to be giving several speeches in the next few months, which is, of course, her right. But that doesn't make it a good idea, not when the opposing party is busy crapping all over itself.

The president's possible treasonous behavior is, of course, the King Kong in the room, and that investigation will continue, leading to a continuous drip of damaging intel that will put a cloud over anything this administration does. But the Republicans are making a mess of things in countless other ways. The "repeal and replace Obamacare" pledge has led to the creation of a Frankenstein monster of a health-care bill, one that would pare the rolls of those getting health insurance by an estimated 24 million people over the next few years and precipitously increase the cost of getting even minimal coverage for most Americans who participate in the plan. It punishes seniors and gives tax breaks to the wealthy. Several Republican senators and governors have spoken out against the bill, and its chances of passage in the Senate appear to be nil.

In addition, Trump's proposed "budget," which looks like it was created on a TurboTax app, cuts funding for public education, environmental protection, the arts, national parks, school lunches, and public television, while allocating billions more for the military and the building of the great border wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. (No doubt the check from the Mexican government is in the mail.)

The testimony by FBI director James Comey before Congress on Monday left two clear paths for Republicans: They can align themselves with the president and continue to denigrate the federal investigation into Russia/Trumpgate, in essence, putting party over country, or they can stand back and let the investigations play out, thereby distancing themselves from the collateral damage that will ensue should evidence of collusion (treason) be discovered and made public.

We are possibly on the precipice of the greatest political scandal in American history. Our national intelligence agencies have unequivocally confirmed that Russia interfered on behalf of Donald Trump's presidential campaign via hacking and Wikileaks. They have confirmed multiple contacts with Russians in Putin's government by at least five Trump campaign aides: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, and Roger Stone, most of whom initially denied or lied about their contacts. Why? In addition, Trump and his family have done billions of dollars worth of business deals with the Russians, as has Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. That's a lot of smoke for there to be no flame.

Whether the president or any of his people had knowledge of — or colluded with — Russia's actions is the biggest political question of our time. The investigations by the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies will likely take months to play out, but the pall of suspicion will remain on this administration until then. The last thing the Democrats need to do is divert attention to anything or anyone else — like Hillary Clinton.

Please stay in the woods, Ma'am. It's your patriotic duty.

Bruce VanWyngarden

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