Thursday, May 11, 2017


Political Mayhem Thursday: Jim Comey

Hoo boy.

Look, it is always going to come off badly when you fire someone who is investigating you. Sending Kellyanne Conway out to explain does not make things better, either. I thought Comey did a lousy job with the Clinton investigation. But Trump chose to keep him on, and only after he ramped up the Russia investigation was he fired.

I'll be straight-up about this: I think things look pretty bad for Donald Trump right now-- not that he will be impeached, not that he will be otherwise forced from office, but he looks bad as a person, as a moral actor. He is doing something wrong here. Whether there is a political price to pay or not, it was wrong. And that should matter.

Sure, I know, that is something that shouldn't surprise us, some will say. But we can't stop saying that something is outrageous when it is.

What do you think?

We live in sharply divided times. And many of us look to our party--rather than, I don't know, good old fashioned common sense--for signals as to how we should feel about the news. Take a basic example: Republicans spent eight years tallying every Obama golf outing and decrying his disregard for the public fisc. All the while Democrats talked about the president's uncharacteristic hard work and need for recreation--whether bike riding in mom jeans or hitting the links. Now, the same Republicans who red-facedly denounced Democrat golf (presumably a more progressive, egalitarian version of the game) are backpedaling so fast they probably did not even notice their colleagues across the aisle tallying every Trump-branded chip shot and decrying Trump's disregard for the public fisc. A more important example is the Garland/Gorsuch affair which, although more nuanced, took on much the same tone and tenor.

I regard the reaction to Comey's firing in much the same way. He was objectively hated by everyone, or at least every partisan. Clinton still blames her loss on Comey and his eleventh-hour pronouncements about her very bad judgment. Republicans are broadly outraged that Comey the investigator took on the role of prosecutor to effectively exonerate Clinton, and that he has allowed the Russian meddling investigation to drag on undefined. I think Jon Stewart's appearance on Colbert's Late Show was incisive--a left-leaning audience fist cheered at the news that Comey was fired, then fell silent upon recognizing who fired him. Stewart's pithy response: "they don't know how to feel."

It's not particularly outrageous that Comey was fired. But how he was fired, when he was fired, and why he was fired all raise troubling questions. If reports are true that Trump pulled out the pink slip largely because (1) Comey would not publicly give Trump a pass on Russia and (2) because Comey was soaking up too much of Trump's much beloved spotlight, it's a bad look indeed.
CTL - I think your conclusion of why Comey was fired is spot on. There is no love lost between him and anyone in Washington but that happens when someone is doing their job right. You piss people off and in this case, powerful people. His handling of the Clinton / Weiner / Abedin issue was wrong. Huma is the one who did something very stupid. I often sent emails to my husbands account to print, but I always deleted them. That is common sense to me.

And the way Comey was fired was unprofessional. I think 45 thinks he is back on the damn reality television show.

It's a shame we have a 5th grader running the country with no regard for protocol. When I read about a Congressman saying the Constitution is different under 45 I get chills down my spine. We should all be very scared.
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