hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
So, our beloved President considers it hypocritical of Democrats to be "outraged" at Comey's firing, when they've spent the past six months criticizing him for throwing the election to Trump.

He's partly right: that would indeed be hypocritical and dishonest, if one divides the world into friends who deserve everything good and enemies for whom no misfortune or punishment is too great.

But part of the difficult genius of democracy is that one can honestly desire due process even for people one has criticized, honestly desire freedom of speech even for speech one disagrees with, honestly critique invalid reasoning even if it leads to conclusions one likes, honestly desire obedience to the law even for people whose goals one agrees with, honestly desire the truth to be discovered and known even if it doesn't serve one's own purposes or if it is discovered by the "wrong" person. Democracy, integrity, and the rule of law come before either your interests or mine.

James Comey quite possibly should have been fired, on a number of occasions. He could reasonably have been fired last summer, and again last fall, for violating FBI norms by talking publicly about an ongoing investigation, by talking publicly about both his recommendation not to prosecute and Hillary's serious errors in judgment, etc. But that would have looked like a political move by Obama, silencing a critic of his chosen successor, and I can see why Obama didn't do that. Trump, of course, has no concerns about how things look politically, or the appearance of silencing a critic, because who in a position of power wouldn't silence his critics? (Certainly none of his idols -- Putin, Erdogan, Sisi, Duterte, etc.) Comey could reasonably have been fired the day Trump took office, but I think at that point, based on the pre-election letter, Trump still had him in the "friend" category, with hope that he would be "loyal" to the President -- why would anybody do something that benefits a particular candidate if one didn't support that candidate? He must have expected that, since Comey was on his side, any subsequent "investigation" of his campaign would be pro forma and predetermined to exonerate him and everyone close to him (like Chris Christie's "investigation" of Bridgegate, taxpayer funded but privately commissioned from his favorite law firm); finding that Comey was actually leading a real investigation would have been interpreted as Comey switching sides, showing disloyalty and untrustworthiness.

To someone who believes in the rule of law above individual interests, by contrast, Comey's actions were completely consistent and loyal: he sought the truth, no matter who happened to be in the White House or whom it benefited. And he was inappropriately public about the truth he had found, no matter who happened to be in the White House or whom it benefited.

Firing Comey was indisputably within the President's powers, and was perhaps the right thing to do for other reasons, in other circumstances. The problem isn't what it does to Comey personally, but what it does to the expectation that the Justice Department and the FBI -- or anybody at all -- are above partisan politics and personal advantage. That's what "makes America great" in my mind, and in the minds of some (mostly older) members of Congress. It seems that almost everything this President does to "make America great again" is a direct assault on what actually makes America great.

Date: 2017-05-14 02:15 am (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
Thank you. I've been trying to think of a way to express all this - next time it comes up, I'll save my breath and just link to you.


hudebnik: (Default)

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