A radio talk-jock I listen to likes to say, “If liberals didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.” The quip probably isn’t original with him, but whoever said it was right. This week we saw another bravura performance of the liberal media’s double standards shtick.
On May 9th President Trump set the print-, broadcast- and social-media ablaze by dismissing James Comey from his post as FBI Director. The surprise act was entirely within Mr. Trump’s authority. He tweeted that he fired Director Comey because he “wasn’t doing a good job.”
Reporters and commentators across the land leapt quickly into the fray by hysterically denouncing the firing as “unprecedented,” “extremely suspicious” and “possibly impeachable” – not to mention mean, ungentlemanly, perverse, probably racist, and downright wicked. No president since Richard Nixon had done anything of the kind, they said. This might be the worst crime of the century. (Bill Clinton did the same thing in 1993, but never mind that...) Nearly a week later the media are still in full cry, with broadcast organs devoting hours of coverage each day to discussions of another Trump-move that took the political world completely off guard.
The vociferous reactions from the media and various Democrat politicians puzzled me a little, at first, because Director Comey has been anathema to most liberals since last October, when he re-opened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s careless handling of classified e-mails while she was Secretary of State. Even though Mr. Comey quickly closed the new investigation – saying that no violations had been found – the damage was done. Democrats widely believe that Mr. Comey’s 11th-hour resurrection of the case cost Mrs. Clinton the election by reminding voters that her personal integrity was still a significant issue.
President Trump has said that he thought Director Comey’s termination would please Democrats because they were so mad at him. Mr. Comey’s political stock with Democrats has been on a roller coaster run for nearly a year. After conducting a lengthy investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private account and server for classified e-mails involved any indictable illegalities – as millions of current and past civil servants and defense-contractors were certain had happened – Mr. Comey announced in July 2016 that he could not construct a “prosecutable” case against the Democrats’ presidential candidate. In his unprecedented and highly irregular public statement, the Director detailed several ways in which Mrs. Clinton had violated security regulations – thereby “damning her with faint praise,” in one pundit’s words.
Ignoring the fact that U. S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had recused herself from the Clinton e-mail case following her private meeting with former President Clinton, the media proclaimed Mrs. Clinton fully “exonerated” and ready to make a historic run for the presidency. Republicans grumbled about the suspicious business of Mrs. Lynch’s “recusal” and her irregular designation of the FBI director to decide if a case could be made. But most of the GOP let the matter go and concentrated on getting their candidate elected.
Democrats praised Mr. Comey’s “courageous” action and toasted his bright future as President Hillary’s FBI director – or possibly even her new Attorney General. He was riding high. But all that celebratory toasting abruptly stopped when Mr. Comey announced, on October 28, that the FBI would examine whether classified e-mails were left on a personal computer which Mrs. Clinton’s close advisor Huma Abedin shared with her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Suddenly (as they say), “the stuff hit the fan,” and Mr. Comey’s name was Mudd.
In a New York Minute “Comey” became a four-letter word to everyone banking on a second Clinton presidency. No matter that the director ended the re-opened investigation two days before the election. Democrat strategists knew the “trust” issue had resurfaced at a very dangerous time, as it would remind voters that there was still a question about Mrs. Clinton’s handling of sensitive national-security information. Some political analysts (including Yours Truly) believe this was the moment when voters in several key states turned against Mrs. Clinton in numbers great enough to give Mr. Trump his winning electoral margin. Intentionally or not, Mr. Comey had engineered the Mother of all October Surprises.
Had Mrs. Clinton been elected, there can be little doubt that she would have eased Mr. Comey out the door – even if she didn’t peremptorily fire him. She would never have trusted the loyalty of a man who had so nearly cost her the election. Right about now she would be announcing that Mr. Comey had resigned in order to “spend more time with his family” – or some similar story. And Democrats would have had absolutely no problem with that! “Good riddance,” they would be saying in faculty lounges, in smoke-filled rooms, and in newsrooms across the country. A man of dangerous unpredictability would have been eliminated before he could make another unexpected move that might damage Madam la Presidente. He was a grenade waiting to go off.
But Miss Hillary did not become President Clinton II. So instead of lavishly thanking all those who helped her win, she has been on a farewell blame-tour to explain all the “reasons” for her unexpected loss – none of them connected to herself and her completely tone-deaf campaign that abandoned her party’s traditional working-class supporters. One item on which Mrs. Clinton minced no words was the FBI director’s conduct in the matter of her private server and those accursed e-mails. Mr. Comey’s name was at the top of her list of persons who had turned what should have been a “sure win” into a train-wreck.
So instead of enjoying the “pleasure” of seeing Mrs. Clinton give Mr. Comey the bums-rush, Democrats had to watch Mr. Trump do it. But that unexpected event produced a remarkable miracle: the rehabilitation of James Comey. Instantly the hated pariah who had done Mrs. Clinton wrong was transformed into a champion of truth whose investigation of GOP-collusion with the Russkies promised to destroy the hated imposter who stole Miss Hillary’s birthright. But before the investigation could bear fruit, the dastardly Donald booted the now-beloved lawman who wanted only to see justice done. Democrats are shouting from the housetops about how Mr. Trump has harmed public confidence in the justice system, and are calling for a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation that could go on for years.
This is the working narrative that the political left adopted as soon as Mr. Comey’s firing was announced. Democrats and their media-pals now believe – or say they do – that Mr. Trump fired Director Comey in order to stop the FBI before it finds proof that the Russians and the Trump campaign “colluded” to steal the election. The story-line has continued despite earnest avowals by senior FBI officials that investigation of the Russians would continue, with or without Mr. Comey. (At this writing, absolutely no proof of such collusion has been discovered.)
Maybe I missed it, but so far no pundit or reporter has said, “Wait a minute – wasn’t Comey the guy who messed it up for Hillary? We thought Democrats hated him. How did he become their Golden Boy?” That question hasn’t been asked because everyone on the left knows the answer. As grandpop used to say, “It all depends on whose ox is being gored.” It explains how the same guy can go from goat to hero in the blink of an eye. In politics, it’s called “adaptability.”
My own take is that the Dems are just as glad as Republicans – if not gladder – to see the back of Director Comey. Oh, they might be wringing their hands and wailing about the “injustice” of his abrupt dismissal, but that’s just some convenient mud to throw at Mr. Trump. I believe they feared, deep down, that if Mr. Comey kept digging he would learn that it was actually Hillary Clinton and some of her liege-men who were in bed with the Russians. It is already known – but little publicized – that Secretary Clinton approved a 2013 deal that allowed Russia to obtain 20% of our uranium production by acquiring control of Uranium One, a Canadian company which then donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Shortly after those arrangements were made, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a Moscow speech by a Russian investment bank that was promoting Uranium One stock. (If investigators don’t think all that smells fishy, then I’d like to know what brand of weed they’re smokin’.) Contacts between Clinton campaign-chair John Podesta and the Russians also look very questionable. Mr. Comey certainly knew about these matters. We’ll see if the FBI under new management looks into them.
I doubt that Mr. Comey had a political agenda or was trying to help (or hurt) either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump. I believe he wanted to discharge his duties faithfully. But, being human, he also wanted to hold onto his job. Under either explicit or implicit pressure from AG Lynch (or President Obama) to go easy on Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Comey’s position became impossible. The honorable course would have been resignation. Perhaps he thought he could do the tightrope-dance that would let him stay on no matter who won the election, but that proved impossible.
Democrats have cruelly yo-yoed Mr. Comey – repeatedly stomping him and then raising him up again, until he is used up like a worn-out tire. At the end of the day his credibility is in tatters and he’s out of work. I’m sorry for him, as I would be to see any honorable public servant treated so shabbily. But he was in way over his head trying to play against (and with) people whose only standards are double ones. They make up their own rules, and they play dirty.