It was my last full day in the District of Criminals, Mordor-on-the-Potomac. My scathing TPM interview had hit that morning. There were people, I was given to understand, who were not happy about it. I should go easy on the committee, I was told, they were doing the best they could. "You don't understand how DC works," I was told.
I replied that the problem is, now that I've seen it first-hand a few times, I understand how it works only too well. As I had finally collapsed in my hotel room the night before, I was emotionally spent and depressed. I was convinced that my trip, made possible by the small and large contributions of folks who trusted me to spend it well, had been a failure and that I had not lived up the fiduciary duty required by your trust and generosity. I was convinced I had failed and it was all a waste. Readers will recall that I did not write immediately about the hearing, putting it off until the next day. That was because I couldn't put into words the abject failure I felt.
It wasn't because I had put my trust in the committee. I have always been prepared for set-backs on that account. But the rumors swirling were all in varying shades of good from promises of new, revealing emails up to and including a purported "nuclear option." When the hearing ended, finally, mercifully, with a whimper, I wasn't asking myself "what just happened?" I understood what happened. I just couldn't believe that my sources had all been so universally wrong. When I challenged those sources afterward, they came up with a one-word explanation: Boehner.
But, thanks to the accumulated exhaustion of a week of "alarums and excursions" as the Bard puts it, my body and mind finally just shut down and I got a better night's sleep -- even though interrupted -- than I had in a while. I awoke still angry but more focused. "We've been screwed" turned into "So? Screw 'em back." I had half-a-notion the night before to just chuck the day and spend Friday at the National Archives researching my continuing interest in Fort Pickering, Tennessee (1798-1866). I wanted to immerse myself in something clean and understandable. But by Friday morning I was back working the problem, and the sources, and by the time I got back out to GOA headquarters in Springfield VA, it was evident to me that we were not out of the game by a long shot.
Nothing good happens in DC without pressure from back in real America. As we go forward on the search for truth in the Gunwalker scandal I will remember that. My being there, despite the simultaneous breakdown of my free housing and transportation plans on the day of my flight out of Birmingham and the strain that it put on my -- your -- finances, in the end had made a difference in a lot of ways small and large that I mostly can't tell you now.
In retrospect, I kept faith with your hopes and that, to me at least, makes all the difference. May God bless you all. For myself, I thank Him that I did not let you down.