I almost feel bad for James Comey. The former FBI director’s book released today under an already thick cloud of perceived hypocrisy and inauthenticity. He talked about Trump’s normal-sized hands and orange skin. Prattled on about ethical leadership…etc etc. As with most reviews on Comey’s tome of ethical half-truths, this is starting to sound very negative.
Sure, Comey doesn’t come across as very genuine. Promoting loyalty while giving everyone the “queen’s wave” on a book tour doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But, like much of the content produced by political groupthink, shouldn’t we be suspicious of the bandwagon just a little? In a way, it feels like the liberal media is doing Trump’s job for him. Not only are they pummeling his long-time nemesis, but they aren’t touching on how their commentary fuels an existing pro-Trump narrative. Not to mention, they aren’t even drawing parallels between Comey’s nakedly self-serving branding and how Donald conducted himself on the campaign and thus far into his presidency.
It leaves you wondering about the disconnect. Of course, the obvious distinction is that Comey is on a book tour, while Trump claimed to be the avatar to fix America’s problems. Suddenly, the liberal + conservative media are in concert, lampooning Comey for turning the concept of ethical leadership into a business. In these hyper-political times, you might think that the motivation for their acrimony is due to how the FBI contributed to Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election.
To provide some perspective, Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s literary vision of the Trump presidency, didn’t seem like it inspired such a consistently negative backlash from the liberal media. The release of “A Higher Loyalty” is a noticeable contrast to Fire and Fury. I’m not exactly sure why. Hillary Clinton and her failure to secure the presidency is probably part of it, but there’s something else going on here. Fire and Fury achieved some nice short-term damage against Trump, maybe because it painted him as an incompetent and raving madman.
While I haven’t read the book, I get the sense that it is very self-focused. Wolff presented himself as a fly on the wall. Comey draws attention to himself, not only that, but maybe even more importantly, he has angered both Democrats and Republicans. In trying to cultivate an image of nonpartisanship, Comey has left himself out in the cold. Much of the negativity Comey is receiving effectively mirrors his own moral judgment. He uses a self-bestowed halo as a weapon. Trump did the same. However, we can’t take this particular moment and remove it from a hyper-focus on politics. Why such negativity on Comey, but Wolff largely garnered praise for his sensationalist efforts?
It still seems that the liberal side is stuck in the past, specifically, on Hillary Clinton, like she is the paragon of the establishment and the only Democratic politician worth promoting. Since Comey helped to obliterate the liberal establishment, he is the enemy? Or something? Maybe the acrimony directed at him stems from something else that I’m missing completely. The only thing that makes sense to me is that things aren’t quite adding up. Comey is falling down a crapshoot of his own making. Wolff handled things a bit more deftly.
It’s important to explore this contradiction, because sometimes broader truths can be ferreted out by analyzing these smaller events.