Comey Makes the Case for Trump

Thanks to FBI Director James Comey I will vote for Donald Trump. As is the case with a lot of conservatives, Trump is not exactly to my taste, and while never a part of the Never Trump crowd, I’ve remained on the fence about him. But elections are not only about individuals, they are about systems, principles, and the rule of law. Both Trump and Clinton are very flawed candidates. However, Trump is not an outright criminal. And he is not the candidate of an utterly corrupt government and party that threatens to literally destroy our republic. That will have to be enough for me and should be sufficient for any other American who still cares about the constitutional rule of law.

Some commentators on both the right and the left have attempted to paint Comey’s announcement that the FBI would not refer charges in the Hillary Clinton email scandal as something other than a corrupt and craven capitulation to a dictatorial president and his would-be successor. Before announcing that Hillary would face no charges -- the final announcement came a day later when Attorney General Loretta Lynch “accepted” Comey’s findings -- Comey laid out a convincing case as to why Hillary ought to go to jail. Then in a breathtaking display of contempt for the rule of law and the bedrock principles upon which this country was founded, Comey rationalized the reasons Hillary Clinton would not be subject to this sanction. Just to make it clear that he was he was not applying justice fairly, Comey then assured us that anyone without political influence and power who acted as Hillary did would face the full wrath of the law.

If Comey’s intention was to demonstrate that the United States as we’ve known it is on its last legs and that his boss Barack Obama and his party have succeeded in turning the country’s government into a Latin American banana republic run by a string of caudillos, then he succeeded. But in doing so, Comey was assenting to the same criminality his boss and the “target” of his investigation regularly engage in, which means that if his actions had noble purpose, and he was an honorable man, he should have right there also tendered his resignation.  

In fact, Comey’s comments were made to insulate James Comey and his supposed reputation as an honest, apolitical, stand-up guy. Perhaps it worked on a Washington pundit or two, but not on anyone with half a functioning brain. Comey probably has great things ahead of him as a full member of the apparatchik elite, and can count a rich financial payoff down the road. He should not sleep well at night but probably will.  But the damage he’s done to the country is incalculable.

To say that this country was founded on the rule of law is not just a rhetorical flourish, it is absolutely true. We don’t have a king, we have a Constitution. There is no reason for the nation to exist otherwise. We are not a country based on ethnicity or religion, but rather on an idea -- that the people are sovereign and equal. America is a direct rebuke to the way almost all other nations have operated from the dawn of civilization, where the people are ruled by elites who make the rules as they go along, and those rules enrich those in charge.

When George Washington stepped down from the presidency after two terms even though it was not required, he reinforced another necessary principle, also rare in history -- virtue. This country is based on law and virtue. There is no point in having it otherwise. James Comey just proved that in this regard we are in a true crisis.

But this is not just about Comey, who is merely another political hack. It is about the utterly corrupted system that produced him, and now functions without a trace of shame or attempt to hide wrongdoing. Comey delivered his statement barely a week after Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton to deliver the same news, perhaps with a caveat for Hillary not to lie too much during her FBI interview and blow the whole thing up. Then Comey’s statement came just three days after Clinton’s interview, demonstrating just how perfunctory it was. And let’s not forget that Comey and the Justice Department made a mockery of the interviews with Hillary’s aides, limiting questions and allowing them to coordinate their stories through the same attorney, effectively preventing career agents from building a case for obstruction of justice.

Many months ago I predicted that Comey would let Hillary off with nothing but a scolding, here and here. But more recently I allowed myself to believe that at least some justice would be done in the case. I fell for the blandishments about Comey’s character and the supposed respect he earned on both sides of the aisle. And as the evidence against Hillary grew, and other investigations battered her claims and defenses, it seemed that there was only one way an honest man could go.

Just goes to show you should generally stick with your instincts.

Donald Trump is a guy who relies heavily on his own instincts, a trait I somewhat disparaged here. But in light of the Comey’s utterly corrupt non-action in the Clinton matter there really is no choice. Not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary, and a vote for Hillary means a vote to end republican government.

Trump is a problematic candidate for a lot of reasons that have been hashed and rehashed endlessly. Those in the Never Trump camp are still clinging to their rationales but those are badly fraying. National Review is awash in articles decrying Comey’s actions (though their columnists were top of the list praising his rectitude beforehand.)  But they and other Never Trump conservatives also maintain a false equivalency between Hillary’s anti-republican history and actions and Trump’s mouth. It is true that Trump’s sometimes diarrheal verbal excesses are ugly, as with his ham-handed threats against a Mexican-American judge or newspapers he doesn’t like. His careless use of Twitter in lieu of a disciplined campaign doesn’t help.

But Trump is now the only hope of defeating Hillary, and at least the country has a chance with Trump. Maybe Trump will turn into a corrupt and authoritarian caudillo. Hillary definitely will be one. Maybe Trump will trash the Constitution. Hillary surely will. Maybe Trump will pack the Supreme Court with sycophants. That’s a given with Hillary. My biggest problem with Trump right now is that he is not running the kind of campaign that will be required to defeat Hillary, and/or that he is not really determined to do so.

Who knows why Comey let Hillary off the hook? It may have been opportunism, a quid pro quo, cowardice or some combination thereof. Maybe it was even a self-rationalized idea that he should prevent a Trump presidency.

If preventing a Trump presidency was part of the equation for Comey then it is incumbent on any right thinking American to make sure Comey fails. It was not his job to be a kingmaker, but to be an honest policeman. He failed in the latter job. He must not be allowed to succeed in the former.