by Jeffery Rendall
Isn’t it funny when someone says something that’s meant to be an insult — but then when you think about it, turns out to be more like a compliment?
Such was the case the other day when former FBI director James Comey elaborated on his current feelings towards the Republican Party. In his own subjective mind Comey was probably trying to dig at the GOP and President Donald Trump by saying the party “left him” – but his words ended up soothing the minds of conservatives who are leading the fight to remake the party into a true bastion of limited government, constitutionally-based conservatism (as opposed to a swamp perpetuating establishment social club).
Caitlin Yilek of the Washington Examiner reported, “Former FBI Director James Comey no longer wants to be associated with the Republican Party with President Trump in the White House…
“’These people don’t represent anything I believe in,’ he explained, pointing to the Republican National Committee’s website LyinComey.com.
“I see the Republican Party, as near as I can tell, reflects now entirely Donald Trump’s values,’ Comey continued. ‘It doesn’t reflect values at all. It’s transactional, it’s ego-driven, it’s in service to his ego. And it’s, I think, consoling itself that we’re going to achieve important policy goals — a tax cut or something.’”
To Comey it’s something akin to pay your fee get your bill through Congress and onto the hated president’s desk with the GOP. Forget all that stuff about freedom of religion and being pro-life, pro traditional marriage, pro law enforcement, pro gun rights, pro strong military and pro border security – that’s all “transactional” — whereas Comey and his ilk observe a higher ethical calling by inventing crackpot theories about the duly elected president colluding with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election.
As long as the ends (bringing down Trump) justify the means then everyone like Comey is just fine with voicing a host of nasty lies, right?
Also, if you will, eliminate from your mind the part about Comey cooperating with the Obama Justice Department brains to make sure Hillary Clinton wasn’t held accountable for her gigantic violations of federal law by keeping her own private email server. She may not have cooperated with the Russians to give away classified secrets but the end result is the same – they got the information anyway! No one paid her to do it, right? No “transactions” there!
The fact Comey says he’s no longer a Republican should rightly be taken as a compliment by anyone who’s ever voted for a Republican candidate. There are plenty of problems with the GOP today but one of them isn’t having a party member sitting in the White House tweeting about how crooked James Comey and his cronies happen to be.
Comey is taking care of that impression himself – and by all-but officially resigning his membership as part of the official Republican swampy ruling elite, he’s doing everyone a favor. Good, one less slimy reptile to chase away with a broom!
Yilek additionally reported that Comey does still admire one Republican, however – Mitt Romney. Perhaps it’s because Romney was the acting face of the #NeverTrump movement prior to the 2016 election — but even the former Massachusetts governor came over to the GOP/Trump dark side once the New York outsider prevailed in the Electoral College and began floating the idea of Mitt being his secretary of state (would he have lasted longer than Rex Tillerson?). The ranks of #NeverTrump Republicans are shrinking indeed – sooner or later Comey won’t even have Romney to act as his token Republican whipping boy.
It wasn’t clear whether Comey’s disavowal of the GOP under Trump meant he’s now become a Democrat – but his wishy-washy manner and fleeting ethical scruples would seem to fit right in with the minority party and its corrupted hate-Trump-all-the-time leadership. Most of the time discouraged Republicans don’t turn towards the Democrats when they lose all hope with their own party. It’s a concept that’s hard to fathom for liberals who fail to grasp why the Democrats aren’t considered an alternative to Trump.
Ben Shapiro of National Review wrote, “Too many Democrats believe that the divide between Democrats and Republicans isn’t political. They believe instead that the divide reflects character itself. They therefore find it puzzling that non-Trump-friendlies — whom, they now assume, are ‘good people’ thanks to their distaste for Trump — aren’t simply embracing the other good people, namely the Democrats.
“In the mind of many Democrats, Republicans aren’t Republicans because they’re in favor of limited government and inalienable, God-given rights. All that is merely a cover for cruelty and nastiness. So Democrats find it puzzling when Republicans who dislike Trumpian cruelty don’t immediately switch sides…
“It’s no wonder that Democrats can’t seem to pull away in the latest round of congressional-election polls. That’s not because Trump is popular, or because Republicans in Congress have done a bang-up job. It’s because Democrats spend too much of their time trying to claim that all Republicans are people of deficient character.”
“People of deficient character” — isn’t that precisely what Comey’s insinuating by claiming the “Republican Party left me” and the GOP is “transactional, ego-driven and in service to his [Trump’s] ego”? Comey’s basically arguing only a scoundrel with deficient character would support Trump; after all, the president tweets a lot, calls people like Comey a “slimeball” and ignores conventional presidential deportment and precedent by treating the office like one huge shifting negotiations session with issue positions evolving on the fly.
But Comey’s wrong — Trump’s isn’t a “transactional” government sold to the highest bidder. Far from it – it’s “Getting to Yes” on political matters that have torn the country apart for decades. The fact Trump isn’t an ideologue shores up the notion that he’s primarily a dealmaker – and fortunately for Republicans he’s representing the conservative side most of the time. It could be said Democrats are particularly frustrated because they know Trump’s fluctuating public stances can’t be nailed down and neatly packaged into a 30-second TV ad.
This week’s announcement that secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo has already met face-to-face with Kim Jong-un is a classic example of how Trump keeps people off balance. Six months ago, who would’ve thought we’d be talking directly with the cheese eating NORK dictator?
Trump’s style is winning people over. The few conservatives who still can’t stomach Trump will likely never join the Democrats because they know there’s no room there for accepting someone with different opinions. Any candidate who might dare to articulate pro-life views, for example, wouldn’t have a chance of receiving support from the Democrat establishment and therefore has zero opportunity to defeat the leftists in a party primary.
Republicans accepted Trump (despite his checkered personal and political past) because the agenda he articulated in 2015 was straight off the top of our heads. None of it would be found in the Democrat Party, even if Nancy Pelosi were no longer their House leader after this year’s midterm elections. If a blue “wave” does develop, Pelosi’s position might actually be in peril.
Laura Barrón-López of the Washington Examiner wrote, “A big enough Democratic wave could threaten the party’s existing House leadership team while washing away the Republican majority…
“Recognizing this as their best shot in more than a decade to recapture the House amid discontent with President Trump, Democrats are buzzing about the possibilities a majority provides — chief among them the ability to rise up the ranks and break the current system of top-down legislating. Though Pelosi says she isn’t going anywhere, viable replacements are starting to count their allies, bring strong Democratic candidates under their wing, and work the caucus.
“As the number of members opposed to Pelosi’s leadership grow and more candidates call for a change, it’s uncertain if she will have the 218 votes to remain in power, regardless of how Democrats fare.”
The balance of López’s article provides background on the internal struggle raging within the Democrat caucus – basically summarized as power-hungry members jockeying for position should the chance arise to sit atop the Democrat kingdom (or queendom if you think Pelosi would be a lock to stay in any scenario). Pelosi’s been around so long it’s difficult to remember what it was like before she began her reign (she’s been in the Democrat leadership since 2002).
It’s hard to see how any switch in Democrat leaders would make much difference to conservatives. The Democrats rumored to be on Pelosi’s high heels should she retire — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley of New York – are just as “out there” as she is on every agenda item of concern to lovers of limited government and traditional social causes.
In other words everything would be practically the same if Pelosi were to step down – the new guys would just wear less makeup and probably inflame the conservative grassroots a little less; but the new blood also likely wouldn’t inspire the race-peddling rabid leftist Bernie Sanders-wing of the party the way Pelosi does either. How will the Democrat faithful respond to being led by another white guy?
It’s curious to see how behind-the-scenes maneuvering is taking place among the Democrats because there’s a great deal of uncertainty within the Republican ranks as well. With Speaker Paul Ryan leaving Congress after this term it’s set off a wild race to succeed him. It’s more than mere personalities involved – it’s a question of which faction will control the direction of the party.
Conservatives panned the notion of current majority leader Kevin McCarthy elevating to the top spot. If McCarthy were to even have a chance of gaining the necessary votes for speaker he will need the goodwill of conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus to get him there.
In a story titled “Freedom Caucus seeks to make McCarthy pay to become speaker,” Rachel Bade and Kyle Cheney of Politico reported, “The Freedom Caucus is prepared to exact a price from Kevin McCarthy if he wants to be the next speaker of the House — three years after foiling his first bid for the job…
“The demands of the conservatives differ widely. Some Freedom Caucus members — including even one of the most pro-McCarthy conservatives, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) — want to see one of their own installed in the ranks of Republican leadership. Others, like the group’s outspoken leaders Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) or Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), want allies named to plum committees or considered for chairmanships.
“A huge chunk of the group wants a speaker who will push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) harder to take up conservative House-passed bills. And another slice, such as GOP Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and David Schweikert of Arizona, are seeking legislative process changes, such as more amendments and debate, or specific conservative policy fixes.”
Freedom Caucus members aren’t holdouts or petty dictators – they merely demand a greater voice for conservatives and a legislative process that works. The House has been dysfunctional for years – first under John Boehner and now, Paul Ryan. Can’t we all just get along?
Not everything is as it appears on the surface. James Comey’s backhanded slap at the GOP was actually a positive thing for Republicans, just as a change in leadership in the House is entirely necessary to ensure good legislation sees the light of day. For conservatives, change couldn’t come fast enough.