Stop Personalizing Politics

It is amazing how many “political junkies” waste their time worrying about things over which they have zero control. More amazing is how many of them think investigations of things like Russian interference in the 2016 election revolve around one person, to the point that they believe the loss of that one person will spell  doom for the investigations they lead.

Let’s be crystal clear. Eric Schneiderman is an asshole. He is abusive to women and he is a symbol for why it’s enormously stupid to put such a premium on what any politician SAYS. He is gone for a very good reason. The investigation he was conducting, which basically ran concurrently with the Mueller investigation and was seen as a viable backup, since most of what Trump and his campaign did in 2016 took place in New York.

However, the New York Attorney General’s Office is a lot more than one man. Losing Schneiderman is regretful, but what is more regretful is that we didn’t find out about his treatment of women before the people of New York elected him. Make no mistake; he hade an entire staff working on the investigations of the Trump Crime Family, and they are likely to continue working on them without a beat. KellyAnne Conway can Tweet “gotcha” all she wants, but unless she can prove the accusations against her boss untrue, what Schneiderman did in his spare time is wholly irrelevant.

In other words, all of you who are freaking out and fearing the worst by the Eric Schneiderman mess really need to chill out and take a breath. The investigation will go on with his replacement, and the New York AG’s OFFICE will be able to do the same things it was going to do before.

A similar warning comes with the ongoing professional left freak-out over the prospect that Lord Donny Trump might fire Robert Mueller. Mueller is smarter than every one of you. He stocked his investigatory team with lots of career  prosecutors with high levels of experience. In addition, he’s well into his investigation, and the team he has built has likely collected enough information to make a report.

In other words, even if Trump fires Mueller successfully, the investigation will not end and the results of the investigation won’t be suppressed. These investigations are not one person. Robert Mueller and Eric Schneiderman are not Supermen, and they have not been doing everything on their own. Their losses do not mean the end of any investigation and they do not mean the end of the world as we know it.

Our government was designed in a way that makes it almost impossible for one person to gain enough power to derail any governmental activity. There is a reason for that, and it is not just about preventing dictatorship or monarchy. The government was created that way to make sure the people always had the upper hand. Every two years, we have an opportunity to change the government; whether we use it or not is up to all of us. There is no “built-in advantage” for incumbents. There is nothing baked into the Constitution that gives an advantage to a candidate with the most money, or the candidate with the most Party support.

Likewise, when an agency does its job, many employees of that agency are usually a part of it. A thorough investigation of a technological crime, a political crime or an economic crime has many components; it is not possible for any investigation to stand or fall on the shoulders of one person, even if that person is willing and able to take full responsibility. The New York Attorney General’s office is Investigating Trump, not Eric Schneiderman. The Office of the Special Counsel is leading the investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election, not Robert Mueller. I’m sure Mr. Mueller has the shoulders to take on all the responsibility, but he’s not stupid enough to do so.

When you personalize any political event to the point that you place its success or failure on one person, you are being unfair to that person, but more than that, you are setting yourself up for failure. Or at least the delusion of failure.

With any luck, the investigation Mueller and Schneiderman have led and undertaken will bear fruit, and we will find out exactly what happened and who was responsible. However, neither investigation will die should the leaders falter. The New York AG’s office will continue on without the horrible Schneiderman in charge and, if Trump fires Mueller, the other dozen or so career prosecutors Mueller hired will keep that one going to its conclusion and report.

Stop worrying. No one needs that much stress.

Also published on Medium.


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