I actually watched some of Hillary Clinton’s testimony in the Benghazi hearings today. Not that she did much talking. During the hour or so that I saw, she mostly sat there listening to long drawn out
speeches I mean “questions”. She was usually given about 15 seconds to untwist the words, correct the record and shift the focus back toward reality before being arrogantly interrupted, contradicted, or indirectly accused of lying.
I have always liked Hillary, but was never a devotee. I didn’t vote for her in 2008 and am still undecided for 2016, but I have to say, she rose in my estimation today. In a million years, I could never have mustered the same patience and self-control necessary to deal with the likes of Trey Gowdy.
Trey Gowdy. I heard that name many times before ever seeing it written. In my mind, I spelled it “Très Gaudi” – with “très” being French for “very” and “Gaudi” being the Austrian slang word for “good time”. It is fitting somehow – he is the only person in that room having a very good time. He is clearly basking in what must be the pinnacle of his fifteen
minutes I mean months of fame. As I watched him I found myself wishing he would just go away.
I also found myself thinking about my grandfather.
When I was a child, we visited my grandparents every Sunday. When we walked in the door, my grandfather would hand my mom a dry Martini and my grandmother would whisk us five kids off to some arts and crafts project or a ball game in the yard. Later, after a good German meal like sauerbraten or beef roulade, a lot of us would congregate around the TV for the Sunday football game. On rainy days or Sundays in non-football seasons, there was a cabinet full of games to play. Chinese Checkers was my favorite.
There was a time, though, when I was 10 or 11 years old, when the usual routines were interrupted. We arrived at the grandparent’s house to find my grandpa glued to the TV, watching a bunch of serious men talking about something serious in a serious looking room. I sat with him for a while, trying to figure out what the allure of this program was. I didn’t understand the significance of the show, but I understood what it was doing to my Grandpa. He was captivated. He was devastated. His whole world was crashing down around him. It was really, really bad.
Watergate was a real thing.
Whitewaterfosterlewinskybosniangunfirebenghaziprivateserveremailgate . . . is not a real thing.
At some point, the Republicans realized that if they simply repeated something often enough, people would remember it and begin to think it is real and important. Psychologists even have a name for this – it is (unfortunately) called the “availability heuristic” – a term absolutely no one understands. Thankfully, Wikipedia explains:
“The availability heuristic operates on the notion that if something can be recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions which are not as readily recalled.”
What does all this mean? It means that if you remember it, it must be important. It means that if Hillary Clinton’s opponents keep harping about “Clinton” and “scandal” in the same sentence, it will eventually become memorable and “true”: “Clinton”=”scandal”.
Whatever those men were talking about for 11 hours, it was not a scandal. But I think my grandpa would be just as devastated. He would be devastated about what a joke our politics have become. A very good joke. A really good time. Très Gaudi.