Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Opinion: RussiaGate obscures Trump's real record

"As a Republican, i gotta say, I'm sick and tired of all this media obsession with Russia and Comey. It distracts  attention from all the real work that's going on, all the progress that President Trump is making toward Making America Great Again. It's just not fair, he's not getting a chance."

You think that's why the president's poll numbers are so low? I mean, they're really low, and dropping fast.

"I know, but if people really knew all the promises that he's keeping, all the good work that's getting done, that would change. It's just hard busting through the media's Russian thing."

Good work like what? For example, how's that wall coming along?

"Wall? Oh, yeah. The wall. Come on, everybody knew that 'the wall' was just a figure of speech. Nobody took that seriously. I mean, 'the Mexicans will pay for it!' Only total fools took that seriously."

How about "health care for everyone", health care that is better and cheaper, never cutting Medicare or Medicaid? Was that serious?

"Oh, that one we did! Did you see our House bill, the one that we celebrated passing at the White House? Such a great day for America!"

That would be the bill that strips insurance from 23 million Americans?

"Well, yes."

Not sure I'd want to be seen celebrating that. I think those pictures might end up in a campaign ad or two.

"OK, what about tax reform?"

What about it?

"Like the president told us last week, 'Our tax bill is moving along in Congress, and I believe it's doing very well.'”

But ... there actually is no tax bill, right?

"Ummm, technically true."


"Well, OK, totally true. You see, Jared's been busy solving Middle East peace and meeting with Russian bankers, and as soon as he's done with all that he's going to tell us what to do on taxes."

So if there's no tax bill, it can't be moving along in Congress, correct? It can't be "doing very well" if it doesn't even exist. So the president told us a lie, right?

"Hey, let's talk about infrastructure! Did you know it's Infrastructure Week?"

I heard something to that effect, yes. So different topic, but same question: Do we have an infrastructure bill? You know, a proposal that is actually written on paper? The whole idea behind Infrastructure Week is to build support for a bill, right? Have you seen a bill? Anything resembling a bill?

"Well, no. We're still working on the details of that one too. The details, and the overall strategy..."

So at this point, your proposal isn't worth the paper it isn't written on, right?

"Don't be so mean. Nobody knew that infrastructure could be so complicated. But you know what the real problem is? The real problem is that so far, the Democrats in Congress have only approved 40 of the 559 nominations that we need to fully staff the administration. It's a terrible scandal, just further proof of how Mr. Trump isn't even getting a chance. The president even tweeted about it!"

You don't say.

"Yup. See!"

Yes, I could certainly see where having no staff could present a problem in implementing an agenda. But ... the Democrats don't control the Senate. The Republicans do, correct?

"Sure, but ...."

And of those 559 vacancies, the Trump administration has formally nominated just 83 people, leaving 436 with no one even nominated. It's hard to confirm nominations that haven't been made, just like you can't pass bills that have never been written. In fact, the word in Washington is that taking a job in the Trump administration is like buying a ticket on the Titanic, but with no lifeboats.

"I know! Let's talk foreign policy!"


"OK, no, bad idea. Anyway ... could you believe what Comey said? Loretta Lynch told him to call the e-mail investigation a "matter," not an investigation. Can you believe the corruption of those Clintons? Unbelievable. Can you believe the bullet we dodged, not electing her?"

I thought you didn't want to talk about Comey?

"I changed my mind. I mean, that was a real blockbuster, that news about Lynch. Total corruption. Lock Hillary up. Lock her up!"

So let me get this straight: When Comey said he was directed to end an entire investigation, you Republicans shrug it off. But when he's ordered to call an investigation a "matter," that's a huge scandal?

"That's the problem with you liberals. You just don't get it, do you?"

No. Apparently not.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.