Thursday, May 30, 2013


You've probably heard that James Comey, the Bush-era Justice Department official who's been chosen to head the FBI by President Obama, was under serious consideration for the FBI post in 2011, before Robert Mueller was given a two-year extension. But did you know that some officials in the Obama White House were recommending Comey for the Supreme Court in 2009? So this has been a long courtship.

I understand why Comey has some appeal -- he interceded to prevent Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card from bypassing a hospitalized John Ashcroft to reauthorize warrantless wiretapping. But I'm reminded of Obama's appointment of Eric Shinseki as secretary of veterans affairs, a choice that seems to have been made largely because Shinseki publicly disputed Donald Rumsfeld's assertion that he could handle the consequences of the Iraq invasion with well under 200,000 troops. I'm also reminded of the decision to appoint Republican war critic Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. Defying the Bush administration and GOP from within counts for a lot in the Obama White House.

The Shinseki appointment has been a disappointment, of course -- his response to the backlog in processing veterans' benefit claims has been woefully inadequate. It's too soon to judge Hagel, of course.

On the surface, this has been a very bipartisan administration -- Obama's worked with Robert Gates and John Brennan and Jon Huntsman and David Petraeus and Ray LaHood. It hasn't helped Obama much -- Republicans hate "RINOs" almost as much as they hate Democrats. Appointing a Republican may make the approval process marginally easier for Obama, but it doesn't diminish the suspicions of angrier Republican officeholders or the GOP rank-and-file.

But the Obama administration clealy thinks this is a good approach. The New York Times notes that other candidates who were considered for the FBI post in 2011 were Ray Kelly (Mike Bloomberg's police commissioner), Patrick Fitzgerald (another GOP hero to liberals when he was prosecuting Plamegate), and Kenneth Wainstein (George W. Bush's last homeland security advisor).

I guess Comey will have a relatively smooth approval process (although I wonder if e'll hear about the moment when he was sent out by the Bush administration to criticize a proposed reporter shield law). But it all makes me wonder: who's going to be Obama's next Supreme Court pick? Chris Christie?


Victor said...

I really don't give two Hershey-squirts about whether Comey is "typical" or not, he's still a Republican.

Why does President Obama continue to nominate Republicans?

Is it that there are no qualified Democrats, to fill that position?

There are plenty of them!
No, he's trying to do the same damn thing he's been doing for over 4 years now - nominating fairly "Centrist" Republicans, in the hope that he and they won't have too much trouble in the Senate.

And what feckin' message is the President sending to Democrats? I appreciate your support and efforts, but there's no sense in you working and trying hard, because I need to nominate a Republican so that I don't have to fight too hard.

Let the people see them keep obstructing every singe damn feckin' thing! AGAIN!

And by saying this, I don't mean to denigrate Comey, or what he did. He did "the right thing."

But do we have to reward the few Republicans who do "the right thing," instead of the masses of Democrats who've been working their whole lives, trying to do "the right thing?"

Phil Perspective said...

Shut up already!! You're supposed to clap and applaud everything Obama does. Didn't you get the memo?

BH said...

If a Sup Ct vacancy came up, and if BO were to nominate anyone to the left of Christie, s/he would get filibustered to death in the current Senate. Ergo, it doesn't much matter.