by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
James Comey did it, naturally, for the children.
Why does anyone in Washington take advantage of the most opportune moment to make a mint off publishing a tell-all book? It’s never for the profits or the sheer satisfaction of sticking it to your enemies and putting yourself in the best possible light. No, there’s always some ostensible higher cause. For the former FBI director, it’s demonstrating, through his own sterling example, what ethical leadership is, “especially to young people.”
That the nation’s youth will be riveted to their TV screens in coming weeks, watching Comey’s exquisitely thoughtful gymnastics of self-justification, and conclude that this is how to conduct themselves when they inherit the baton of the country’s leadership seems extremely unlikely.
James Comey has managed the seemingly impossible. The former FBI director is locked in a death struggle with an unpopular president who makes even his allies cringe with his belittling nicknames, foolish threats and strange view of the presidency — and somehow it is Comey who is coming away as the unlikable one.
That’s because no one likes a prig, especially when he has an ax to grind. Comey has good reason to disdain Donald Trump, who fired him in humiliating circumstances and whose warped view of the Justice Department as an institution for the protection of the president is rightly anathema to him. Comey is just the latest of Trump’s adversaries, though, who are diminished by the president dragging them down to his level and exposing their weaknesses.
Comey’s weakness is self-regard, clearly wounded by the widespread sense that he took an impossibly challenging assignment in 2016 and made a complete hash of it.