You Give Me Fever by Al Sikes


You Give Me Fever

“You give me fever, when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
Fever in the morning
Fever all through the night”

Little Willie John sang the original version of Fever released in 1958. A year later the sensual Peggy Lee did a cover version that skyrocketed into the top ten songs worldwide.

Ordinarily, fever is not a welcome sense—it is often a symptom of illness. But, fever is also characteristic of passion and in today’s overheated political jargon, the swamp.

At the risk of over-extending the metaphor, fever and incoherence are first cousins. Whether it is the fever of a passionate love affair or malaria, it works against reason. Fever and rationality often are at cross-purposes.

In the United States, the election of Donald Trump produced a fever. The news became feverish. Political debate likewise. And nowhere is our feverish behavior more pronounced than the commentary surrounding the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The President has been poked and probed by every imaginable adversary for over two years. First, the Clinton campaign. Then, after his election, the full array of denouncers kicked in—the news media, social media, and the variety of organizations he offended and offensive he has often been. This swirl of investigation and accusation was followed by House and Senate Committees and then the Special Counsel and his staff.

If there is the proverbial smoking gun of criminality, it should have, by now, been revealed. And if Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, is as good as advertised he has certainly had enough time to put together a case. To-date Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and several minor functionaries have been charged and presumably have or will reveal what they know to lessen their penalties. One is left to wonder why Mueller cannot isolate the culpability of the President, announce his findings in that regard, and continue against the minor actors as warranted.

I will not cite the litany of important issues that require minute to minute attention from the White House, but there are a large number. It is time to “fish or cut bait.” As a former Assistant Attorney General in Missouri, I know that a criminal investigation opens up many avenues of inquiry and that it is hard not to prolong an investigation, but we are talking about the President.

We elect each President knowing that we are not electing an angel. One President in my lifetime, Bill Clinton, was impeached by the House of Representatives. Richard Nixon would have been, but he resigned. Another, Lyndon Johnson, stood aside from the nomination battle when his popularity sunk to the basement. And we have a mid-term election coming up which gives voters a chance, if they choose, to make Trump the lamest of lame ducks.

In the meantime, the work of the Special Counsel that deals with the President should be wrapped up in the next sixty days, a report given to the Congress and, of course, the public, and then if warranted action taken.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford, understanding the potential divisiveness of a criminal trial of Richard Nixon, who had resigned under the dark cloud of Watergate, pardoned him. It probably cost Ford the Presidency, yet historians often point to the pardon as the most farsighted and courageous act of his Presidency. They, on reflection, understood how debilitating it is for the nation to be caught up in the incoherence of a fever.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

Letters to Editor

  1. We needed this! Just thinking of music helps. Thank you.
    One comment, though. 3 years is the average length of time for a Special Council’s investigation. Bill Clinton’s lasted over 7 years. Mueller is a well-respected litigator with a number of related convictions already. We’ll get there!

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