Would YOU vote for Comey? If so, why? If not, why not?

Comey Iowa cropped

First there was the revelation that James Comey was indeed @FormerBu, author of the “Reinhold Niebuhr” Twitter feed.

Then, on the cushioned rubber heels of that, was the stranger speculation caused by his most recent Tweet, which showed him on the road in Iowa in… running shoes. Was he running for president? I mean, why else does anyone go to Iowa? I’ve only been to Iowa once in my life, and while I wasn’t running, I was there to cover someone who was — Howard Baker, back in 1980. (I ended up flying through an ice storm in a four-seater plane, and haven’t had the urge to return since.)

So how do we feel about that? What do we think of him as a candidate?

Of course, I can’t answer that meaningfully without an answer to the other essential question, compared to whom? Compared to Trump, no question. With others, it gets complicated.

But I have to say, while I’ve never thought of him that way, I respect him more than a whole lot of other people who have run for the office in recent years.

Even if he did deliver the election to Trump. Which I’m not totally convinced he did — but as close as it was, any one of a number of small things could have made the difference. And what he did at the last minute in the campaign was not really a small thing.

Still, I’ve always felt that what he did grew out of his own finely honed (perhaps a tad too persnickety for the nation’s good) sense of honor and integrity. (And wouldn’t that be a wonderful change for the nation, a guy who may be too honest?)

He’s a smart guy, with perspective and a sense of proportion. Of course, I’m basing that in large part on the fact that he gets how big a deal the Russian interference in our election was, and that’s a fairly low bar, isn’t it? I mean seriously — how many of us, aside from Trump and his most deluded followers, don’t get that?

But I’m intrigued. This is a serious man, and has a lot less B.S. to him than so many others we’ve seen don their running shoes in Iowa. Think about it: He named his feed for the subject of subject of his thesis at the College of William & Mary, one of the deeper thinkers of the 20th century. As opposed to, you know, something dumb like “Drain the Swamp.” Or “Jeb!” With me, that gets him a bunch of points.

I’m curious what y’all think….

21 thoughts on “Would YOU vote for Comey? If so, why? If not, why not?

  1. Larry Slaughter

    No idea if I’d be inclined to vote for him; no idea what policies he’d support. The only thing we know about him is that he has some integrity and honesty. And honesty isn’t very valuable in national politics. That became obvious to me years ago with Andrew Young and Jimmy Carter; and certainly true today. Unfortunately, it seems to me that honesty and political skills can’t coexist. And Comey is the poster boy for that.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      At the same time, what a wonderful contrast it would be to have someone whose weakness is too much honesty and integrity.

      As long as we had that — in a man who understands the rule of law and enough about international affairs to recognize Russian interference in elections, which is to say, someone with perspective — I’d be less interested in the particulars of his policies. Sure, tell me what he wants to do — there might be some deal-breakers.

      But character, intelligence and perpective matter more to me than anything. As for plans for policies, I tend to put them in the category of “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” No one knows what conditions a candidate will face in office — they may be conditions that would make it foolish, or a distraction, to try to implement the policies that sounded good during the election.

      Give me someone who’s grounded, understands what’s going on and has a good character. Those come first…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I can’t remember the last time I voted for someone because he said he wanted to do X…

        … No, wait — I can. It was 2002. Sanford said he wanted to implement the Power Failure reforms I’d been pushing for for more than a decade.

        And we saw how that turned out. He wasted most of what little political capital he had on his wackier anti-government propositions, and frittered away the rest. A total waste of an opportunity.

        So give me honest, smart candidates who don’t harbor bizarre notions that might lead them off into pointless conflict…

        1. Chuckie

          “I can’t remember the last time I voted for someone because he said he wanted to do X.”

          Wow, you take the opposite approach from me in choosing whom to vote for. For you, it’s the individual over ideas and proposals. But politics is a group activity, not an individual-player sport. Sure, character counts in my book, too. But most of the time it’s not really an issue, because both candidates are usually within the acceptable spectrum in terms of norms and behavior. Very few reveal themselves as crooks or creeps going in. The 2016 election was the exception that proves the general rule. When I vote, it’s the policies a candidate supports that take center stage, not whether or not he or she’s a great person or has raised some great kids or served in the military or any of that. It’s where they stand on the issues that I care about. That’s what I send them to Columbia or Washington to do: pursue certain policies and push certain ideas. For me, judgment and character are displayed in what a candidate wants to achieve as a public servant, not who he or she is as a person.

          As for Comey, I think he let his concern over his own reputation – his personal sense of moral rectitude – cloud his judgment about the duties of his office when he made those public comments in July of 2016 at the close of the Clinton investigation. He should have held his tongue. He didn’t and in not doing so he exercised poor judgment. In other words, what you see as his positive attributes led him to make a bad call.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            True that. If he hadn’t done that in July, he wouldn’t have felt obliged to do what he did in October.

            As for “But politics is a group activity, not an individual-player sport.”

            That’s the thing. I don’t belong to a group — except on an ad hoc basis. I’ll agree with this group on this issue at this time, while simultaneously belonging to other groups (some of which are seen as the “opposite” of that first group) on other issues. And then when circumstances change — making a certain position on an issue no longer a good idea — I’ll swap “groups.”

            I don’t like campaign promises in general.

            A lot of people voted for George H.W. Bush because he said, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” But for my part, I like old David Cop-a-feel for breaking that pledge, when the circumstances were such that keeping it would have been irresponsible.

            You just don’t know what’s going to come up while someone is in office. So I prefer to vote for someone I trust to make good decisions when the unanticipated arises…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And that means basing my vote on character, yes. But also on intelligence and experience. Experience is doubly valuable, for two reasons. Once, it makes the candidate smarter, more capable of dealing with what arises. Second, it allows me to have observed him in office, and judge him by how he’s dealt with issues in the past. Without that, I’m voting blind…

      1. Mark Stewart

        Well, many people believe Trump’s tax cuts will benefit them significantly. Mathematically, that is clearly not the case.

        So the conclusion that Trump’s “base” is ignorant is pretty compelling at this point in time.

      2. Doug Ross

        Probably… the name James Comey would probably not register with half the voting age public… and a good percentage of the rest would only be able to say something like “Wasn’t he that FBI guy from the last election?”

        We are a nation of apathetic uninformed voters. We have the government we deserve. As I saw on Facebook today: “Pick someone you know who you think has average intelligence. That means half the people are dumber than that guy.”

        1. Doug Ross

          And to support my claim, I give you the fact that in Sept 2003 – 6 months after US invaded Iraq – 70% of Americans thought Saddam did the 9/11 attack according to a USA Today poll at the time.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            This is why I’m not a populist.

            It’s why I favor candidates who are far, far better informed than the average voter — instead of ones who channel all their prejudices and misconceptions.

            But of course, the 2016 election causes even me, in my darker moments, to doubt the wisdom of democracy itself. Never, ever before has the American public been so willing to elect utterly clueless people. They used to be willing, to a certain extent, to gravitate toward candidates who were smarter, or at least more knowledgeable, than they were. Now, they’re willing to drag the whole country down by electing people — and it’s not just Trump — who regurgitate to them the most outlandish things that they want to believe, without even a nod toward reality.

            This is a profoundly dangerous moment not only for the country, but for the idea of democracy itself…

            1. Richard

              “They used to be willing, to a certain extent, to gravitate toward candidates who were smarter, or at least more knowledgeable, than they were. ”

              How many decades do you have to go back for this to be true? Because it hasn’t been anytime recent.

              You don’t have to go all Chicken Little on us…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                That would be true of every president in my lifetime — yes, Bud, even George W. Bush was brighter than the average guy on the street.

                Doubt me? Go out and start quizzing average people on the street about general knowledge, or politics in particular. Start with “Who’s your representative in the S.C. House?”…

            2. Doug Ross

              “This is a profoundly dangerous moment not only for the country, but for the idea of democracy itself…”

              Yep. Here comes the sky falling again.

                1. Doug Ross

                  I guess you’ll have to show me where it’s falling. The economy is strong, the people I come in contact with on a daily basis (including a large urban college campus in Pittsburgh) don’t appear to be suffering from fear and depression. My neighbors all appear happy. All of us sane people are going about our lives and not spending our days worrying about what Trump tweeted or whether he said something that was over the top.

                  Yesterday, he put the focus on the opioid addiction crisis. That’s a good thing, right? He’s trying to push through tax cuts — which will be a good thing for most people.

                  I’m focusing on what he does, not what he says. That’s how I know the world isn’t on the brink of disaster.

  2. bud

    Only 8% of Trump voters believe the groping allegations against him are credible. More proof that voters are ill informed lemmings.

    1. Doug Ross

      Yeah, half the country voted for Hillary even though she didn’t think the claims against Bill were credible when they happened.

    2. Bart Rogers

      Considering the fact that Trump is a blowhard, braggart, and has “small hands”, it is very possible he was trying to fit in with the Howard Stern show format at the time of the interview and did lie about grabbing a female’s crotch. I will concede the point without reservation that he was correct when it comes to rich, powerful, influential males and unwanted sexual advances or outright attacks on females. They can grab a woman’s crotch and get away with it if the woman is in a vulnerable position and fears retaliation or retribution if she complains, fights back, or takes action against the perpetrator. The stories coming out about Weinstein and O’Reilly are fair witness to that point.

      Over the years, I have worked with some strong women who would have flattened Trump without hesitation if he had grabbed their crotch and they would have filed charges, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. My Mom was one who would have punched his lights out without a second thought. And others would have remained silent.

      Learned a lesson in high school that some males could say and do anything and get away with it because of their looks, popularity, wealth, social standing, or sports. But, let the guy who at that time is what is described now as a geek do the same thing and within a few minutes, he would be in the principals office and expelled. How do I know? I witnessed it first hand too many times. Unfortunately, what has been exposed recently is nothing new and will probably continue as long as predators and victims exist in society.

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