1. James Comey, Cognitive Dissonance Dunce. The anti-Trump obsessed won’t be able to see it, but rogue ex-FBI director James Comey is doing an immense favor for President Trump and Republicans by single-handedly framing his campaign against the man who, it is increasingly obvious, correctly fired him (as Hillary Clinton would have done even faster) as that of a classic vengeful disgruntled employee and nothing more, or better. Even Time op-ed writer Charles Blow, whose every column since the election has been some paraphrasing of “I hate Donald Trump,” was forced to observe that Comey is an especially dislikable foe (as is Blow himself). The sheer number of loathsome Trump-bashers has a natural Cognitive Dissonance Scale effect that the President’s critics can’t seem to fathom.
Normal, fair-minded people whose natural instinct is to run from the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Ted Lieu, Hillary Clinton, David Hogg, Joy Reid, Bill Maher, James Comey, Robert DeNiro, Alec Baldwin, Stormy Daniels and the rest will find themselves, almost unconsciously, siding with the President rather than this basket of deplorables, because, you see, he is the President, and who wants to be identified with that crew?
In his ABC interview, which successfully marked Comey as Just Another Trump-Deranged Resistance Warrior, he actually said that Trump was “morally unfit” to be President. First of all, it is the electorate, not James Comey, that decides who is morally fit to be President. Comey’s assessment is no more or less valid than that of anyone else. Second, the statement is ridiculous on its face. If Comey had an interviewer with any knowledge of Presidential character and the history of the office, plus the wit and integrity to expose an ignorant opinion when one is broadcast coast to coast, he would have been asked..,
Was Thomas Jefferson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump kept his wife’s sister as a concubine and slave? Was Andrew Jackson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump killed anyone in an illegal duel? Was Grover Cleveland morally fit to be President? Did Donald Trump ever have a woman committed to an institution to silence her about their sexual relationship? Was Woodrow Wilson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump endorsed the Klu Klux Klan? Was Franklin Roosevelt morally fit to be President? Has President Trump ordered U.S. citizens into prison camps? Was Richard Nixon morally fit to be President? LBJ? Bill Clinton?
The Presidency is self-defined by its past occupants, and “moral fitness” is not a characteristic that comes to mind when considering what qualities are identified with successful, popular or effective Presidents.
2. Whither the ACLU? Alan Dershowitz has authored a searing attack on the ACLU’s lack of integrity demonstrated by its failing to condemn the Justice Department’s raid on lawyer Michael Cohen’s home and office. He writes in part,
Sure, it occasionally defends a Nazi or Klansman as an easy pretend-show of its willingness to protect the free speech of the most despicable racists. But it has been scandalously silent when it comes to the real current threats to civil liberties and free speech, especially on university campuses where the hard left demands suspension of free speech and due process rights for those with whom it disagrees.
Now, since the election of President Trump, it has sunk to a new low, becoming a cheerleader for the violation of the civil liberties of those on the other side of the political spectrum. Consider the recent raid on the law office and hotel room of Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. In that raid, it appears as if FBI agents may well have seized material protected by the lawyer/client privilege, including communications between Trump and his attorney. On the day of the raid, I said that if a similar raid had been conducted on Hillary Clinton, had she been elected and a Special Prosecutor appointed to investigate her emails, the ACLU would have been up in arms.
I condemned its doubled-standard silence. When I said that, I couldn’t possibly imagine that the ACLU would actually go out of its way to justify and defend the raid, even before all the facts were known. But that is exactly what it has done….Imagine that the search was of your lawyer’s office, or your doctor’s office, or your spouse’s computer, or the rectory of your priest. And imagine that government agents got to read the most intimate privileged communications between you, your lawyer, your doctor, your spouse or your priest. Would it be enough that the government (and the ACLU) told you that the information wouldn’t be used in a criminal case against you? Would you believe that your civil liberties had been violated as soon as government agents read this material? Would you trust government agents not to leak embarrassing information about your conversations, especially if you were a controversial public figure?
The ACLU does not address any of these questions, because the person whose lawyer’s office was searched was Donald Trump. And virtually every contributor to the ACLU voted against Trump, as I did.
I find it fascinating that Dershowitz, a genuine legal rock-star who in the past has been a welcome guest on CNN and the major networks. and has seen his opinion columns published in the New York Times and the Washington Post, is now relegated to conservative publications like the Washington Examiner and Fox News.
3. The Legacy of Pete Wales. I attended a memorial service this morning for a friend and teacher, Prof. Heathcote Woolsey Wales, better known as Pete, of Georgetown University Law Center. What all of the speakers mentioned, and what I had myself observed with respect and wonder, was how marvelously this vigorous, active man had faced death after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, six years ago.
As one of his friends said, he did not go gentle into that good night, but he didn’t rage against the dying of the light either. Pete was not bitter, or angry, or depressed. When he could no longer lecture, he wrote, and worked on committees and boards. When he could no longer ski, he went down snowy hills in a chair attached to skis. When his arms wouldn’t work sufficiently to use a wheelchair, he zipped around cities in a motorized scooter. Pete’s son said that his father had always maintained that wherever he was in his life was the best time of his life, because accumulated wisdom and experience made daily events and wonders easier to appreciate. When Pete received the devastating diagnosis of ALS, his son feared that the blow would shatter his positive outlook and optimism. Incredibly, his son told us, it did not. “I honestly believe that in many ways the last six years of Dad’s life were the best years,” he said.
The true test of integrity is when one’s stated values and principles are tested by tragedy. Many, indeed most of us fail that test. Pete Wales demonstrated for those who knew him well, like his family and close friends, and those who knew him less well, like his student and colleagues, that a life lived well can be crowned by an acceptance of death with dignity, grace and brio.