The Comey Hour: A Show About Nothing

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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‘If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: “President Can’t Swim.” – President Lyndon B. Johnson

The above quotation may reflect the twilight presidential years of LBJ, but it quite nicely describes the current predicament of another president in another era who deals with a vastly different media. The liberal mainstream media declared war on Trump from the day he clinched the Republican Party presidential nomination and it has continued combat operations ever since, not even declaring a cease-fire during the transition period nor halting its firing for inauguration day.

They think they have the president where they want him this week. It’s Comey Week and for outlets like CNN, that’s ratings week. Former FBI Director James Comey’s might have mightily exceed his 15 minutes and arguably has long overstayed his welcome as a mainstay of the national news, but just about anything passes for great drama in the polarized politics of America even if the play might be compared to Much Ado About Nothing.

The ’90s sitcom Seinfeld used to bill itself as a show about nothing. The Comey Show is emblematic of an inquiry about nothing.

But whether you are Trump supporter or detractor, you need to be concerned about what is going on with this infernal nothing-burger inquiry into the imagined nefarious scheming of the Kremlin to undermine American democracy. No good will come from this inquiry or from Comey’s testimony or whomever else is propped up before these inquisitors.

Because if you think it is only the U.S. media that is fixated on this political bedroom farce, then think again. When Trump’s private attorney finally ambled up to the microphone on Thursday to repudiate Comey, his stage was the world.

The world is waching but it is also laughing: at how a democratic system that is was both original and brilliant in conception, thoughtfully designed by great political thinkers to comprehensively and systematically address both the needs and the fears of an intelligent electorate, has been hijacked by partisan bickering and febrile compulsions that are reducing American politics to a pooly managed circus.

And Senator John McCain is a clown in this circus. McCain attributed his bizarre questioning of “President Comey” to a lack of sleep from watching late-night baseball games. Apparently McCain is an avid nocturnal observer of America’s sport because he rarely asks any questions or issues any statements these days that could not be described as bizarre, quixotic, weird, enigmatic, puzzling or perplexing. Was his performance on Thursday supposed to be different than usual? Among those American legislators seeing Russian hackers under every desk, no one is more adamant than McCain that the Kremlin’s evil hand was at work in defrauding American voters of a free and fair presidential election — without ever suggesting just how that was accomplished.

It’s difficult to know whether McCain is simply losing his grip on reality or if his addiction to media attention has become a raging, untethered compulsion. Both McCain and his RINO-twin, Senator Lindsey Graham, think there is no such phenomenon as media over-exposure. Both of them will appear on any network at any time on any program to discuss, well, just about anything: as long as it brings another media hit.

That is precisely what drives these interminable Washington inquiries. They provide almost limitless hours of free publicity to the politicians who all imagine themselves to be actors in another film about American political corruption. When the government “workers” in D.C. can spend their whole days in the myriad of watering holes that his city offers –where they can commence binge drinking at 9:30 a.m. — and watch this sordid spectacle instead of doing their “jobs,” well something must be amiss in the capital of democracy.

And it’s not sordid because we are witnessing the unveiling of a shocking presidential scandal; rather, we are seeing a thundering waste of time as Republican and Democratic legislators alike rehearse their talking points and do their utmost to reflect a tone and posture that might be appropriate for a remake of All the President’s Men.

Trump’s detractors always liked to say that his presidency would become a reality show. Well Trump delivered the presidency, the House and the Senate and as this fetal mess unfolds in Congress, it is difficult to tell the Republican jokers for the Democratic ones. But it does resemble a reality show, albeit one replete with so many cliches and hackneyed scenarios that it shouldn’t last a few weeks on network television.

Like ever misnomered reality show, there is a distinct air of unreality to every meretricious performance. It is so pathetically unreal in fact, that we would perhaps be more judicious in labelling it a gong show.

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