Will Clinton’s Weiner problem mean Trump is going to be president?
I’m about to write perhaps the most worn-out and abused phrase that is more than often used to channel an expression of frustration about certain political oddities for there is no other way to describe the seemingly-never-ending farce that is the 2016 US presidential campaign. “Theatre of the absurd” would perhaps aptly sum up the frenzied chaos that has characterised and marred the politicking this election season.
Washington is a web of treacherous entanglements – it’s the global capital of conspiracies where ghosts come back to life each election cycle and lobbyists and contractors call the shots. It’s a fascinating world, an “in your face” environment where one is “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”.
Faced with this quandary FBI director, James Comey, let the cat out of the bag. After giving Hillary Clinton an almost clean bill of health last July, Comey decided that before anyone else leaks the information out or tries to smother his unblemished reputation, he should himself come forward and let the world know that the leading candidate has a Weiner problem.
Comey’s Friday-salvo came out of the blue. Although he’s been known to have a funny side especially when it comes to the Clintons, Comey cut through the established departmental norms and traditions and dumped some inconclusive, half-baked, purely speculative information into the public domain that may have a devastating impact on the Clinton effort to win the White House.
Political pundits and those on the street like yours truly are flabbergasted by Comey’s unprecedented demeanour. It’s made people think and reflect on the individual’s intentions. Although he says he’s not aligned to any political party, Comey historically is a Republican. Also, while he didn’t really accuse Hillary of a crime in July, he did leave the door ajar; ajar enough for the conspiracy mongers to talk endlessly about the emails that supposedly compromised national security.
Did Comey really want to safeguard his credibility? Was the October 30th Comey attack on Hillary’s integrity an honest gesture by America’s top cop? Why did he come out with this information so incredibly close to the Election Day when apparently the FBI became aware of Anthony Weiner/Huma Abedin involvement in the email saga few weeks earlier? Where does one draw the line between departmental protocol and spilling the beans on a possible on-going investigation that may or may not prove that a certain individual is guilty or otherwise? Did Comey’s coming out serve the cause of justice?
Thanks to the private part grabbing Trump’s shenanigans, the US has already become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Whether Trump wins or loses, our democracy is at risk of turning into a mobocracy. It seems that we zoomed out of the civility at the speed of lightening. It’s been perhaps the messiest campaign of recent times.
Comey only added to the mess. Many say that he had no business to open a Pandora’s Box and get so deeply involved in the election process. He shifted and distracted the Clinton campaign attention and energy onto himself and provided Trump with ammunition to fuel up his rhetoric against his opponent.
What is Comey up to? Does he have a secret agenda? Has he been promised something by certain elements in this town of huggermuggers for a bigger and brighter future? Is Comey compromised?
We don’t know anything and will never get to know much unless someone as brave as the Watergate reporters dig and dig to bottomless depths and bring the walls of secrecy down.
Here’s a catch-22 for Comey. If his exposés bring Hillary down and result in her losing the election, the world will not remember Trump but Comey who showed complete disregard of FBI’s Internal Operating Procedures (IOPs) or policies and single-handedly destroyed the campaign and, therefore, the spirit of democracy. On the other hand, if Hillary wins, how will he face President Clinton or even think about establishing a steady and cordial working relationship?
What happens behind closed doors is anybody’s guess but one is quite sure that prior to writing all those letters to the members of Congress, a man of Comey’s intellect must’ve thought this through. He’s not just another street urchin. In fact, he’s both street smart as well as book smart. He won’t take a risk without knowing fully well that it’s worth taking.
Did someone, within government, try to blackmail or arm-twist Comey to do what he did, a horrendously unconventional act maligning Mrs Clinton’s image based on some absurd speculation?
Or, could it possibly be a ploy to exonerate her completely from the email controversy and show the world that she’s completely clean? What if Comey comes out a day or so prior to the election and gives her a two thumbs up?
I’m just speculating since nothing can be said in concrete. All we know is that all bets are off and we, as nation, as polarised and bewildered to the fullest possible extent.
We’ve been told that the investigation into Weiner’s computer will take some time but one never knows the ways of Washington. If they can issue warrants on a weekend, they can certainly also come up with the results of this so-called investigation in the next 24-48 hours.
Whatever the outcome, Comey’s act certainly will have a far-reaching impact on the election – one that can haunt us for decades to come. The flipside of this could be that voters had already made up their minds much long before the Comey conundrum and nothing really changed that. We can all, just like Director Comey, sit and speculate.
As the sun rises on November 9th, this fractious and divided nation will have a new president. Lord have mercy on us!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.