Comey’s delusion

James Comey is beginning to remind me of David Brock. In the mid 1990s, Brock wrote a book that criticized Hillary Clinton, though not to the degree many on the right hoped for. He then spent the next two decades sucking up to Hillary.

Comey publicly criticized Clinton’s handling of classified emails, though he did not lower the boom that many on the right hoped for. Now Comey seems obsessed with gaining Hillary’s forgiveness.

When George Stephanopoulos asked Comey what he would say to Hillary Clinton today, the former FBI director responded:

“I hope you’ll read those chapters of the book. Not so that you walk away agreeing with my decisions, but that you understand better where they came from. And—and frankly, the kinda person who was trying to make those decisions. Even if you think they’re wrong, then look at how we made those decisions and why.”. . .

And what I’d ask them to do is please try to come into those rooms. Read the book and come into those rooms and see how we tried to make these decisions. And if possible, ask yourselves, “What would I have done, and why?” And you may come out thinking, “I’d’ve done it differently,” but I don’t think you’ll come out thinking that—as Hillary Clinton wrote in her book, I shived her.

Comey speaks convincingly about what he’d like to say to Hillary Clinton. He’s far less convincing when he speculates about what Hillary would say to him.

Comey says that if Clinton had been elected, she would have asked him to stay on as FBI director. He argues:

Secretary Clinton is someone deeply enmeshed in the rule of law, respect for institutions, a lawyer. And so given that background, I’m reasonably confident that even if she was unhappy with decisions the FBI made, she would not fire the FBI director as a result.

This is sucking up in service of a delusion. Hillary Clinton is deeply enmeshed in the rule of loyalty. It’s impossible to imagine that she would retain as FBI director someone who, in her words, “shived” her.

Look at how core Clinton loyalists have reacted to Comey’s book, which lowers the boom on President Trump. Philippe Reines, one of Clinton’s closest aides, summed it up in three words: “Apology not accepted.”

Reines also reports that he has spoken in recent days with Clinton about topics including Comey. He says he doesn’t think the recent publicity about Comey, presumably including his attacks on Donald Trump, “changes much” about how she feels about the former director.

Ron Klain, a key adviser who very likely would have taken a high White House position had she won, has said:

I worked for an AG (Janet Reno) who lived by, ‘Let the facts and law’ decide. Comey isn’t that. He was ‘Let the facts and law …. and my image and how I am perceived’ decide.”

Putting Hillary’s propensity to carry a grudge to one side, it would have been irresponsible of her administration to retain an FBI director who, in its view, decides vital matters based on concerns about his image and who, consequently, exercises “terrible judgment” (in Reines words).

James Comey is a legend in his own mind. That’s why he fancies he would still be FBI director if Hillary Clinton had won.

He would not be. His unfitness for that job is one of the few things Clinton and Trump can agree on.