We are poised to embark on another cycle of stupid, as the president makes up another dumb thing and everyone pretends to take it seriously and Weigh the Evidence of whether this obviously phantasmagorical bullshit actually happened. This time, it's "Obamagate," a truly meaningless portmanteau the president really tried to make happen as part of his 126-tweet Mother's Day episode, a more than 24-hour meltdown and a bang-up use of time during a global pandemic when the United States' response is among the worst in the world. Already, you can feel the credulous Objective News Media headlines coming: "President Trump Accuses Obama of Worse Than Watergate." Never mind whether there is any evidence for it, or whether it even makes any sense at all.
This newest iteration of the routine involves Michael Flynn and seems to originate in part from his lawyer, who went wild on Fox Business Sunday. But it's always the same. In every one of these conspiracies, the awesome power of the Deep State was allied with the Obama administration in opposition to the election of Donald J. Trump, a simple businessman and patriot who just wanted to clean up Washington's corruption on behalf of the American people. (Apparently, this is done by pouring taxpayer money into your own businesses, which Trump refused to properly divest from on taking office, and allowing industries to finish capturing the government departments nominally tasked with regulating them.) Anyway, a key protagonist in these vile plots is always James Comey, the FBI director appointed by OBAMA! and fired by the current president. Trump said on national television that he defenestrated the guy who was leading the Russia investigation in part because of "this Russia thing."
But James Comey, you see, was a corrupt Trump Enemy trying to prevent the man who got millions fewer votes than his opponent from realizing his God-given destiny to represent The Will of the People as president. So Comey, in this telling, worked tirelessly as part of the Deep State cabal to destroy Donald Trump. Which is why, in the homestretch of the 2016 campaign, Comey intervened in the election—in explicit breach of Justice Department protocol—to...critically damage Trump's opponent. I mean, are we going to pretend that Comey's letter announcing the reopening of the investigation into The Emails had no effect on the outcome? The data says otherwise. But even if his intervention was not decisive, is that what you would do if you wanted to make Hillary Clinton president? Meanwhile, he chose not to go public with the news the FBI was engaged in an investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, which had been opened months before.
This all fails the most basic logical test. In the process of constructing this entire ornate infrastructure of conspiracy and scandal, the president and those on the particularly occult wing of his support have neglected the basic foundation. Or perhaps they're just trying to obscure it. Comey broke the rules to intervene in the 2016 election in a way that damaged Clinton, not Trump. This is irreconcilable with the idea Comey—and the extended Deep State, which is simultaneously all-powerful and incapable of stopping the awe-inspiring tactical genius of Donald Trump—was part of some grand scheme. If he was part of it, his main contribution was to critically undermine the scheme.
The more straightforward explanation is that Comey thought Clinton would win, but was worried the news that the FBI had found new emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop would leak and he could be seen as protecting Clinton. (There was reason to worry: Rudy Giuliani, even then a full-on Trump apparatchik, had his hooks in the FBI's New York field office.) In this formulation, Comey is a selfish careerist who acted out of craven self-preservation, not one arm of a shadowy, powerful, and comically inept cabal. Oh, and here we might mention that the Trump administration has used private email accounts to conduct public businesswidely and repeatedly. It is all a gigantic pile of manure. At least the Clinton Foundation presented some genuine concerns about conflicts of interest, which are now the operating principle of the current administration.
More than 80,000 people are dead, unemployment is near 15 percent, and the federal government has no discernible strategy to get us out of the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying lockdown. We are not testing enough people to reopen safely because we did not use the two months we've all sat in lockdown to sufficiently ramp up our capacity. The president is hoping people will get distracted with Deep State conspiracies and culture-war bullshit while they gradually grow accustomed to watching thousands of their fellow citizens die preventable deaths each day.