When it comes to dirt, political dirt is pure gold. Uncovering dirt on an opponent can just about guarantee you a win.

Finding that dirt is what politics today is all about. Something your opponent said or did years ago could do him or her in today. With dirt, time doesn’t matter.

President Trump and his political advisers are on a dirt dig every day. No, not a witch hunt, as he mentions daily in speaking of himself. A dirt hunt.

The Democrats are trying to impeach Trump with dirt, and Trump’s defenders are trying to wall off the Democrats with dirt barriers. It amounts to dirty political maneuvering by both sides every single day. 

As Humphrey Bogart would put it, dirt is “the stuff dreams are made of.” Digging up that dirt is, as President Trump puts it, “a beautiful thing.” Where there is dirt there is also the smell of beautiful victory. 

Dirt isn’t just a Democrat or Republican thing. It’s the way the political game is played today. 

Experience and a good reputation doesn’t matter anymore. That’s why political opponents spend all their time and resources trying to find that single thing from the past or present that could do in a challenger. 

Keep on digging until you discover the incident that could do in or discredit your opponent. Find out what it is your opponent is attempting to hide. Find it and then smack him on the head with it.

Good examples of this type of dirty work are brought to light almost daily. All of us have something bad buried in our past. We keep silent, hoping others will never find out. Most of the time this bad thing has no bearing or business on who we are today or on our abilities. 

Sad, though, that in our time, digging up dirt has become more important to politicians than doing their jobs. It used to be that a politician running on a good record of service could win. But times have changed, sadly.

During his time in office, President Richard Nixon reigned as the chief executive of the “dirty tricks department” at the White House. 

He was no newcomer to the game. Nixon began playing in the dirt as President Eisenhower’s vice president. Later, when Nixon occupied the Oval Office it became his full-time job. 

One of Tricky Dick’s best moves was to have one of his henchmen meet a political opponent at the airport and then deliver him to the wrong speaking venue. By the time the confusion was cleared up, the crowd that came out to hear the candidate had left. 

Nixon finally met his match with Watergate. His personal burglars who broke into Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington were caught while they were searching for what dirt the Democrats had on Nixon. 

As a result of his obsession with dirty politics, Nixon was finally forced to resign as president or face impeachment and removal from office. Jail time was also a possibility.

The Democrats are hard at work right now trying to bury President Trump in his own dirt. But they have found themselves matching wits with one of the best operators in the business.

He’s enlisting foreign government leaders to help him dig up dirt on his presidential opponents. Imagine that.

We have no way of knowing how much dirt will fly when the presidential race really heats up next year. But there’s one thing for certain. There’s going to be a lot of dirt tossed about.

Trump is a pro when it comes to dirty or shady business dealings, too. He was at it for a long time as a colorful and controversial New York building developer.

Trump’s line of work then involved contacts with the Mafia and strong-arm union officials in one of the toughest and most crooked markets in the world.

Trump knows every trick in the dirty tricks playbook. So does his personal lawyer, the colorful ex-Big Apple mayor Rudy Giuliani.  

Don’t get me wrong. The Democrats don’t have clean hands either. There’s a lot of dirty work under way by Democratic lawmakers in their efforts to oust Trump and also win reelection. 

We know that politicians at all levels — national, state, local — also are at work digging into opponents’ backgrounds looking for dirt to use on them. Valuable time is wasted while precious little time is spent on digging into complex political issues that require thoughtful solutions.

It is way beyond time to put the shovels away, wash our hands, change our clothes and get back to responsible government.

Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is r.morris@ctvea.net.

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