Sunday, July 24, 2016

James Comey And The Search For The Non-Existent Center

James Comey, the Republican but well-respected (by both parties) director of the FBI, cleared Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with her use of a private server for her e-mails as Secretary of State (a use made by both of Clinton's two Republican predecessors).  However, unlike most well-respected law enforcement officials, he did not let the matter rest there; instead, he took it upon himself to offer his personal opinion of what he considered to be Clinton's reckless behavior with regard to the use of the server.

Why?  I suspect that, like any good Beltway insider, he was attempting to pass the investigation camel through the eye of the bipartisan needle.  By clearing Clinton legally, while rhetorically shaking his finger at her (Bad Hillary!  Bad, bad, bad!), he was hoping to keep himself immune from political pressure coming from either side of our great political divide.

Except that it didn't work.  All it did was give Congressional Republicans another opportunity to exploit, for political purposes, what should have been a closed case.  And they used Comey to do so, by having him testify on Capitol Hill.  By doing so, they undermined the very rule of law they claim to be so important to them.  And Comey did much the same thing himself, by failing to respect past procedures in Justice Department investigations and failing to preserve Clinton's own right to a fair investigation of her conduct.

Which just goes to show that, in politics as in the rest of life, there's something more important that trying to be "fair and balanced."  It's called telling the truth.  Without fear or favor.  And without editorializing for the sake of keeping your own job.  Whatever respect Comey has earned over the years, it certainly wasn't justified by this investigation.  And it did nothing to pull America toward a "center" that seems to have vanished for good.

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