You can mark it on your calendar. Thursday, December 13, 2018, was the last gasp of the decades-long hunt by the Republican Ahabs in Congress for their Great White Whale -- Hillary Clinton -- and something, anything with which they could harpoon her.
That last gasp, after years of hearings on everything from Hillary's alleged culpability in the Benghazi attacks to Hillary's private mail server to Hillary's non-role in the death of Vince Foster, was a Government Operations subcommittee hearing tellingly titled "Oversight of Nonprofit Organizations: A Case Study on the Clinton Foundation."
The witnesses were the usual right-wing suspects, while the net result of those decades of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds wasted is . . . zilch, unless we consider as we must the mountains of scurrilous and largely undeserved publicity that the wife of Bill Clinton and later secretary of state and victim of Vladimir Putin's cyberespionage has had to endure.
As Republican investigative excesses go, it's difficult to top Benghazi.
The Select Committee on Benghazi alone spent $5 million in conducting one of the longest congressional probes since the Pearl Harbor attack, yet had no intention of getting to the bottom of the September 2012 incursion by Islamic militants that took the life of J. Christopher Stevens, who was the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three others. Its only goal was to try to embarrass Hillary.
Committee member and right-wing crank Kevin McCarthy didn't mince words as the 2016 presidential campaign heated up: "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?"
A little perspective: Congress also investigated George W. Bush's derelict handling of Hurricane Katrina, which took 1,800 American lives. The five months of hearings cost a mere $90,000. Then there were the congressional hearings into Bush's $2 trillion Iraq war, which cost nearly 4,500 American lives. Oh, wait! There never were any hearings.
And a little more perspective: No president and administration has been as remotely corrupt as Donald Trump and more in need of investigating, but Republicans have turned a practiced blind eye to the rot right under their noses.
What is especially precious about the repeated dry wells Hillary haters have dug since their 1993 investigation into Whitewater, a botched business venture involving the Clintons, is that junior Republicans are blaming the senior House congressional leadership for their repeated failure to draw blood.
Once Republicans gained full control of government -- the House, Senate and White House in 2017 -- it should have been happy hunting.
But Representative Matt Gaetz, a died-in-the-wool Trumpkin, says that "low energy leadership" in the House kept Republicans from gaining traction in their relentless quest to get Hillary.
"They really presented a number of headwinds, not only to my efforts and Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows' efforts, but notably to Devin Nunes' efforts," Gaetz told Talking Points Memo in ticking off the names of three of the most obsessed Hillary hunters.
"They" were not identified by Gaetz, but would have to include House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and his predecessor, John Boehner, who did seem preoccupied with the difficult task of not governing -- except when it came to tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy at the expense of poor working slobs -- rather than chasing their tails over nonexistent outrages perpetrated by Hillary.
On January 3, Republicans will cede House committee subpoena power to the new Democratic majority. In the end, and it was ignominious indeed, they came up empty handed because Hillary, while not always forthcoming and sometimes secrecy obsessed because of their incessant hounding, did nothing wrong.
There was no there there.