Democrats who are falsely claiming that preexisting conditions will no longer be covered under Republican health care reform had better pray that whiplash isn’t a preexisting condition, since some of them are going to suffer it after stopping on a dime and doing a snap about-face on their demands that FBI Director James Comey be fired.
All it took was two words from President Trump (“You’re fired”) to make his critics go from screaming for Comey's head to screaming for a special prosecutor to look into this outrageous – even treasonous! – abuse of presidential power in firing him. It was even called a “coup” (odd, since that involves the overthrow of a legitimately elected leader, not the firing of a subordinate by a legitimately elected leader). According to Chris Matthews, there was a “whiff of fascism” in the firing.
I admit, it was kind of fun seeing Democrats struggle to explain why they were so outraged over getting what they’ve wanted for so long. Hillary Clinton can’t even place an order at the Jack in the Box drive-thru without blaming her election loss on James Comey. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson had to struggle like an avian dentist pulling hen’s teeth to get a Democratic spokesman to explain how he could be simultaneously happy and mad. The best the guy could manage was to darkly claim that while Comey deserved firing, the “timing was suspicious” because of the ongoing investigation of alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
But if that’s his only beef, then Comey likely could’ve been fired a year from now and the timing would still be suspicious, since this Russian investigation is dragging on with no end in sight and hampering the Administration from getting on with important work, with nothing of substance to show for it. FBI insiders have been complaining that it’s one of several investigations Comey seemed to be slow-walking that should have wrapped up long ago. And news flash to Democrats: most Americans are satisfied that Hillary Clinton lost because she was Hillary Clinton, not because Boris and Natasha stuffed the ballot boxes in Oshkosh, by gosh.
As for the Democrats’ argument that if Comey deserved to be fired, then Obama Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Attorney General Loretta Lynch would have recommended it and Obama would have fired him, I’d reply: Are you kidding me? I could name plenty of Obama officials who deserved to be fired, but try to name any who were. If you were loyal to Obama, you could ship guns to Mexican gangsters, let Americans die on your watch and lie about it, abuse the IRS to target non-profit groups for their political beliefs, “lose” records you’re required by federal law to archive, spy on reporters, let veterans die on health care waiting lists and cover it up, drag the Little Sisters of the Poor into federal court to force them to pay for contraceptives, and even be found in contempt of Congress and still keep your job. Obama appointees may have been the only American workers who had true job security during the Obama years. That’s another reason why Americans replaced him with a man famous for saying, “You’re fired.”
President Trump made it clear that he was firing Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was praised for his integrity by Chuck Schumer before his 94-6 Senate confirmation vote, less than a month ago (which made Sen. Schumer’s calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the firing extra whiplash-inducing).
Rosenstein wrote a letter listing the many reasons why Comey had lost the trust of Americans in both parties, stretching from his press conference last summer that seemed to indict Hillary while declining to indict her, to just last week, when he testified before Congress that Hillary aide Huma Abedin had forwarded “hundreds or thousands” of government emails, some classified, to her husband Anthony Weiner’s unsecured, and probably unhygienic, laptop for printing. Turns out it was actually only a handful, and they weren’t classified until after the fact. Yet Comey insisted he has “no regrets.”
The public might not have paid much attention to Comey’s performance at that hearing, but it’s been reverberating through the hallways at the FBI like the “time’s up” gong on “The Gong Show.” (Read Rosenstein’s entire letter at this link:
Trump said in a statement, “The FBI is one of our Nation’s most cherished and respected institutions, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.” And he’s right. A recent Fox News poll found that 80% of the public trust the FBI. Meanwhile, a poll by the Hill newspaper found that only 17% of the public had a favorable view of Comey (among Democrats, who claim to be so upset by his firing, his favorable rating was 12%). Americans still respect the FBI, they just have more trust in Fox Mulder than in James Comey.
So most Americans thought Comey needed to go. I’ve thought so ever since that first Hillary press conference – and believe it or not, not because he let her off the hook, but because he so wildly overstepped his powers in doing so. He was the head of an inquiry (not even a formal investigation with subpoena powers). His job was solely to gather facts. Yet he took it upon himself to interpret the law like a judge and decide what a prosecutor and grand jury would do with those facts. He not only violated the rules of his agency, he sent a message to all Americans that if you are powerful and well-connected, you can get away with things the rest of never could. Hillary might think that the later, election-eve reopening of her case was what did her in, but I’d argue that her fate was sealed when Comey let her skate the first time. That cemented the reputation she already had as a powerful insider who thought the rules don’t apply to her. She went from merely benefiting from the double standard to being the public face of it, and just at a moment when struggling Americans were fed up to the gills with smug, unfair elitism.
Comey also symbolized a wider problem that we’ve seen with entrenched federal employees stalling, leaking and otherwise trying to undermine the new Administration. I’ve read reports of how many in Washington wanted Comey to go but were too cowed to say so because he knew all their FBI file secrets. He was described as the most powerful man in Washington. It was said that like J. Edgar Hoover, he could keep the job as long as he wanted because nobody would dare fire him. Tucker Carlson even revealed that political figures who came on his show had no fear of bashing the President on TV, but said during commercial breaks that they were too afraid to criticize Comey publicly.
Maybe it took a Trump, who’s so used to seeing scurrilous things about him in the media (like that discredited “Russia dossier”) that he doesn’t care what might be said about him, he’s going to do what he thinks needs to be done. It did need to be done, and better late than never. In the United States, the people we voters send to Washington to represent us should never have to cower before the superior powers of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
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