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Last Tuesday, The Leader fired James Comey, the FBI director who may or may not have been investigating The Leader’s reputed Russian ties — it’s hard to tell when The Leader himself can’t keep his story straight.
This move was denounced by prominent D.C. players from James Clapper to Nancy Pelosi. Current GOP officeholders, on the other hand, basically just went “rhubarb rhubarb peas and carrots” and gave The Leader the benefit of the doubt — some, like Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley, to a pathetic extent — or else kept their yaps shut.
The problem for these guys is, The Leader is giving them everything they want — the immiserization of the poor and sick, tax breaks for the wealthy, wing nut Supreme Court Justices, etc. This is in fact their tacit deal with him: He enables their policies, and they allow him to grift the shit out of the White House with impunity. So they can’t get too noble about this latest breach of presidential decorum (and possibly some laws).
Some suck-ups, to be sure, were with The Leader all the way on this. “COMEY FIRING NOT CAPTURING AMERICANS’ ATTENTION,” yelled Breitbart — that is, it “did not create the social media firestorm Democrats and the mainstream media hoped it would, according to data from SocialFlow.” The rule of law is just not getting enough Likes, libtards!
Others like Deroy Murdock at Townhall didn’t see why liberals weren’t congratulating The Leader since they didn’t like Comey either (“Short of chomping into a cyanide capsule, there is nothing that President Donald J. Trump can do to satisfy the Left”). Come on, you know some of the people Caligula killed had it coming.
But more mainstream conservatives, who have to appeal to a readership wider than the all-caps lock-her-up gomers — and who may have correctly sensed that, despite Breitbart’s optimism, the public isn’t with The Leader on this — played it safe by adopting a muzzy middle-of-the-road position, admitting something was kinda bad about the Comey firing, but not enough to actually, you know, do anything about.
Take Erick Erickson. His racket has been to righteously associate himself with the #NeverTrump movement while not actually being against The Leader in any meaningful way. Even in the big January 2016 National Review “Against Trump” issue, where several prominent wing nuts first made their anti-Leader stand, Erickson said, “I would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.” Last September, he told his fellow fundamentalists, “My position is that if you want to vote for Trump, go for it. But Christians should not be actively, publicly supporting Trump” — an invitation for People of Faith to back the pussy grabber, but on the down-low, while Erickson kept his kneepads for church and his mouth molten-butter-free.
Erickson continued this routine throughout the campaign and even after (“Perhaps, as only Nixon could go to China, maybe only Trump can reunite the country”). Yet people who should know better, like the New Yorker, keep referring to Erickson as “a ‘Never Trump’ Conservative” and claiming he “broke with many of his readers, becoming a discordant voice of anti-Trump dissent.” Talk about having your crock and eating it too!
So guess what Erickson said last week about Comey, after some initial “I have long had concerns about President Trump” hooey? In the New York Times, yet?
Erickson bought the whole Leader line — echoing the playground defense that liberals didn’t like Comey either (“If he was so bad then, is he really so good now?” he nyah-nyahed) — and also claimed that the FBI investigation of The Leader’s Russian ties wouldn’t be affected by Comey’s ouster because, get this, “Senate Republicans have already raised concerns about how Mr. Comey was fired….They are not going to serve as yes men for a yes man at the FBI.” Quick, relevant sidebar from FiveThirtyEight: “So far, no Senate Republican has said that he or she would stall a Trump FBI appointment or support a bill to appoint a special counsel to look into Trump’s Russia ties.” I’d like to meet whoever’s buying Erickson’s argument with a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.
You hardly need read past the abused-girlfriend subhead of Jonah Goldberg’s column at National Review — “Rather than rationalizing and enabling the president’s behavior, conservatives need to convince Trump that he’s his own worst enemy.” But what the hell, it’s funny:
First, Goldberg did his traditional indecisive pee dance, dropping barely relevant insults on The Leader (“Trump was never destined for Mt. Rushmore, but every insane tweet is a step further away from it”), then demurring, “I have no problem with the argument that James Comey deserved to be fired,” etc. His point seemed to be that, though The Leader was doing everything conservatives wanted, he wasn’t making it look good.
Goldberg also made what, given the history of the conservative movement, must be regarded as an unfortunate appeal to his readers’ consciences: “The rush to defend the myth of Trump,” he said, “is causing conservatives to abandon their principles, standards, and credibility at a breathtaking pace.” You could probably hear the laughter at the Heritage Foundation from outer space.
Sensing the end of his word count approaching, Goldberg tried to buy the mob’s favor by comparing The Leader’s Comey problem to something equivalent by Obama — but alas, all he could come up with was the Obamacare website debacle of 2014, notwithstanding that was a technical fuckup, whereas the Comey firing is possibly an obstruction of justice.
Finally, Goldberg played his ace — Mike Pence, he said, should “do himself, his party, and his country a favor by telling Donald Trump, ‘If you humiliate me like that again, I will resign and run against you in 2020.’” That’ll show him! Imagine all those rednecks in “Fuck your feelings” shirts abandoning The Leader for Godly Mike Pence.
Also at National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy, who since the election has been auditioning for the role of The Leader’s Renfield, first made some forthright-sounding noises — for example, admitting that by firing Comey, The Leader had shot himself in the foot, which regrettably would make it “more difficult now for the president to recruit a highly respected, instantly credible law-enforcement pro” of the sort that had presumably been beating down the door of his scandal-plagued administration heretofore.
But, said McCarthy, what’s important is that Obama started it: “President Obama was rumored to have asked Comey whose side he was on when they tangled over such matters as the ‘Ferguson Effect’ and the role of radical Islam in the San Bernardino jihadist attack,” he said. True, Obama didn’t fire Comey, but probably just because he was lazy — you know how those people are. Also, Obummer notwithstanding, “The loyalty question is not cut and dried….Insubordination is not an option…”
In conclusion, McCarthy declared, “The statutory ten-year term for the FBI director ought to be scrapped.” [Pause for dramatic effect.] That way, he continued, the replacement of said director would “not be fraught with intrigue over whether the president is under investigation or whether his removal of the incumbent director is sinister.” Not quite as funny as Otter’s speech to the Faber student court, but logically in the same ballpark. Now if you’ll excuse McCarthy, he’s got some flies to eat.
Since nobody who’s in a position to do anything about it is actually going to, this one probably just goes in the box along with the other outrages to ripen up for the 2018 election, assuming war with North Korea hasn’t necessitated its postponement. On the other hand, some people (OK, a whole lot of people) now seem to want an independent counsel to investigate The Leader’s abundant Russian ties. Will some gutless senator decide it’s scarier to cut bait than fish? Rhubarb, rhubarb!