I revel in often being attacked, as long as I take fire from both flanks. That’s right, if as a journalist you’re criticized just enough from the right and occasionally from the left as well. Then, guess what? You’re doing a good job.
The FBI director is not — at least last time I checked — a reporter, but if he were, he would be a damn good one. Why? Because Comey is being hammered from all sides, and it isn’t pretty.
In fact, he may be, at least for the next week, the most despised man in American politics, and that’s saying a lot considering that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the most disliked presidential tandem ever to carry their party’s nomination at this stage of the game.
Republicans are furious with Comey for not sending Clinton to jail. While Democrats, equally furious, say he had no right to trash her in the manner in which he did. Yes, James Comey gave something to everybody during his critique on Clinton, national security and prosecutorial judgment this week.
Members of the Grand Ol’ Party say Mr. Comey’s own takedown of Clinton while describing the FBI’s findings Tuesday was enough evidence to file criminal charges.
Some have gone so far as to call Comey a "coward," a "sell out" and even a "traitor" for not doing his so-called "duty." It’s as if they wanted red meat, and he served up a plate of vegetables. Yuck, can you eat it? Yes. Is it satisfying? Hell, no!
But for every angry Republican, there’s a Democrat not too far away on some cable news show who is equally angry, if not more so. "How dare James Comey say those horrible things about Hillary Clinton?," they ask. "How could he suggest she should have been fired? That’s not his job," they scream. "His job is to decide whether she committed a crime, and, if not, then he should say so and shut the hell up."
Democrats don’t want the FBI director to explain his case and his findings. Republicans loved the explanation but hated his conclusion.
Appalling, shameful and abusive is how Democrats describe Comey’s criticism of Clinton. Funny, it’s not too far off from what Republicans are saying about him as well — which brings us back to our original point: James Comey is a gutsy and honest public servant.
Those who’ve worked with Comey throughout his career affirm and respect his character. Look at what Thomas DiBiagio, a Washington lawyer who worked closely with Mr. Comey as a fellow-federal prosecutor, told the New York Times.
“This was a no-win for him,” DiBiagio said. “There’s no way he was going to please everyone on this one ... So he stood up there and said, ‘I’m going to take the criticism.’ That’s what an FBI director does.”
Yes, that’s what an FBI director does.
That’s also what virtuous people do. They do what they think is right, regardless of the consequences. It’s called honor. It’s called integrity.
The problem for Comey is he’s displaying a virtuous character most Americans don’t often see. We’re not used to that: not used to seeing that in our leaders, not in our politicians and certainly not in our presidential candidates.
Which brings me to ask the following question: James Comey for President? No way.
Why? Because he’s way too decent and way too honest for the job—certainly compared to what we have left to choose from.