Monday, June 19, 2017

Jim Comey, Washington's Joe Btfsplk

     If you’re under sixty, you’re probably not familiar with the character Joe Btfsplk. Created by famed satirical cartoonist Al Capp, Joe was a well-meaning fellow who was always accompanied by a dark raincloud and was the world’s worst jinx. Kind of like James Comey.
     For all his good intentions and Boy Scout-like rhetoric, the former FBI Director seems to be a walking disaster. Everyone he encounters ends up jinxed or cursed by his Dudley Do-Right actions.
     First there’s Comey himself. He repeatedly and earnestly tried to do the right thing but somehow always failed and, in the end, it cost him his job. Rather than play politics like almost every other official in Washington, Comey bent over backwards to follow some impossible ethical standard and ultimately hoisted himself on his own pure petard.
     Next up is Hillary Clinton. The Democratic presidential nominee was sailing along to an almost certain victory when she was tripped up by the modern-day Joe Btfsplk. If Mr. Comey had just followed precedent and resisted the urge to inform Congress that he was reopening the e-mail investigation, Ms. Clinton would today likely be sitting pretty in the White House with First Gentleman Bill.
     Speaking of Bill, he’s the next jinxed victim in this story. Thanks to his ill-advised visit a year ago to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch sitting in her plane on the tarmac of a Phoenix airport, Comey suggests he wouldn’t have gone public about the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails. A lesser person might have overlooked Bill’s faux pas but not the overly-earnest FBI Director.
     Like the pins in a bowling alley on a Friday night, White House officials came crashing down in great numbers thanks to Comey. His Russia investigation has felled one after another of Donald Trump’s compatriots starting first with Mike Flynn who had to resign as Trump’s national security advisor purportedly for lying to Vice President Mike Pence.
     Then Attorney-General Jeff Sessions was found out and had to admit to Russian connections. Although he didn’t lose his job, he did have to recuse himself from any related matters.
     Son-in-law Jared Kushner’s Russian connections are now under investigation and his foray into national politics may be short-lived. And as Jared goes, so, too, likely goes Ivanka.
     Finally, there’s Donald Trump himself. In fairness to Mr. Comey, he did all he could to avoid the president but Trump persisted. Not only did he speak to Comey on the phone, he even went so far as to invite him to dinner and to insist on a private meeting.
     If only The Donald had paid attention to the metaphorical raincloud above Jim Comey’s head, he might not be in the tenuous position he’s in today. The moral of the story? When Joe Btfsplk’s around, give him a wide berth.   

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