Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Never has one man broken more leftist hearts than James Brien Comey Jr.
The 6’8 former FBI director is once again the object of the left’s adoration. “A Beltway dreamboat, handsome as a movie star,” Salon gushes. “Our handsome young FBI director,” Gizmodo flutters its eyelashes. "How tall is James Comey? Tall. Like, really tall," the Boston Globe coos.
Now the Beltway dreamboat will be appearing live and in person in the Senate. It’s the biggest show in a big government town. Teenage girls hunting for Justin Bieber tickets have nothing on the media frenzy.
“The Comey Testimony: When, Where and How to Follow,” the New York Times breathlessly posts. As if it’s the World Series instead of awkward exchanges between a resentful lifer government man, Senate Democrats trying to prove that President Trump didn’t win the election and the moon landing was faked, and Senate Republicans trying to get on with the business of running the country.
And the left shouldn’t get too caught up in its new romance with James Comey. Not when his on and off again relationship with the media is Washington’s biggest soap opera. Comey saved Hillary. Then he got the blame for costing her the election. He was a hero for supposedly investigating Trump. Then his Hillary testimony led to media outrage. Trump fired him and he became a hero again.
The Washington Post went from "James Comey just stepped in it, big time" to "James Comey, is this man bothering you?", "20 questions senators should ask James Comey" and "James Comey's written testimony inspired this playlist" in one month. Tomorrow it might be, “James Comey, we baked this cake for you.” Or it might be, “James Comey, we hate you and never want to see you again.”
Because James Comey has nothing except resentment at losing a cushy job he wasn’t very good at.
Comey’s career was doomed when he became a player in Democrat conspiracy theories. First, the left blamed him for Hillary’s defeat. Then it enlisted him as its champion to prove the election was hacked.
And the Beltway dreamboat can’t deliver. The curtain rises. The spotlight comes down. And Comey coughs out his carefully worded memos that describe in detail the furniture of the Oval Office.
"When the door by the grandfather clock closed... Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock... I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock."
Slate gushes, "James Comey's Senate Testimony Is a Pulpy, Literary Treat." If you really like grandfather clocks. Why write about grandfather clocks? Because Comey doesn’t have anything else to write about.
There’s no “there”, there.
The FBI, as Comey lays out in a tedious opening that he knows his Democrat admirers will skip over to get to the juicy Trump stuff, was conducting a “counterintelligence investigation” not a criminal investigation. So there was no crime. Nor was the FBI investigating Trump. Nor is Trump being accused of obstructing an FBI investigation.
All those carefully documented memos, the painstaking labor, amount to absolutely nothing.
But that’s because there was no crime to begin with. The rest is innuendo. The drip drop of a scandal without one ever materializing. Comey’s testimony will be another drop from that leaky faucet. Its only substance is theatrical. Detailed documentation creates the appearance of wrongdoing. Constant hearings maintain the illusion that something is being uncovered. Even when nothing is.
The better question is why do the memos even exist?
The left would like to believe that Comey was gathering evidence on President Trump. But they don’t contain anything incriminating about him. Instead Comey was trying to preemptively protect himself. To understand that is to understand who Comey is and why he got into this mess.
Democrats fixated on the idea that Comey would take out Trump. But Comey is the wrong man for that job. Just as he was the wrong man to hold Hillary accountable.
Comey isn’t anybody’s hero. He never was.
James Comey wanted to finish his ten-year term. He wanted to get through it without anybody from either side dragging him down. He dictated and shared everything out of fear, not duty. After getting fired, Comey used his associates spread details of his memos across the media. Lefty appetites were whetted. They were sure that there would be something explosive in them.
But there isn’t. And now they’re hoping that his testimony will deliver something more. When it’s done, James Comey will break their hearts one last time.
The memos reveal far more about Comey than they do about Trump.
The former FBI boss went through life as the star of his own drama. He injects conflict and drama into his interactions with President Trump to seem more important. He takes ambiguous remarks by Trump and builds them up into something grander, not because they prove wrongdoing, which they don’t, but because they make him seem more heroic.
There’s Comey resisting Trump’s blandishments and then tying it up on his laptop in an FBI vehicle. There he is alone with Trump being served dinner in the Green Room by Navy stewards and alone in the Oval Office with Trump after everyone leaves through the door by the grandfather clock.
The memos injure President Trump lightly, but inflate James Comey greatly. Beneath the façade of the public servant is a man who longs for the spotlight even as he remains unworthy of it.
Comey wasn’t good at his job. The FBI has little to show for his time at the helm. Instead Comey’s awkward misstatements, his gift for putting his oversized foot in his mouth, made him the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. And that is how he went out.
President Trump fired Comey after he made one mistake too many. Now Comey’s last revenge is another mistake. Having exhausted the magic of the memos, he’ll lay them out one last time. Every detailed description of who was sitting where and where the door next to the grandfather clock was.
And then leave the stage.
After all the hubbub and hype, Comey has nothing. And there still isn’t an actual crime behind all those hearings and investigations. The only crime here is the left’s insistence on reversing the results of an election. Comey’s participation in that anti-democratic theater is shameful. And it belies his studied image as a public servant whose only loyalties are to the truth and the law.
If that were the real Comey, we wouldn’t have been seeing bits and pieces of the memos being seeded to the media. If that were the real Comey, he would have done the right thing last year.
If Comey were the man he pretends to be, he wouldn’t let innuendo do his dirty work for him.
But James Comey likes the attention as much as he is unready to receive it.
Last year, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd was pitching Comey for president because “he kind of looks like Henry Fonda.”
So much for that.
James Comey won’t be the President of the United States. And he won’t bring one down either. Instead he will have his moment on the stage and then shuffle off into the darkness. The lefties who hoped he would destroy Trump will sigh wistfully and then go back to blaming him for losing the election.