The lotion industry is gleeful as the hand wringing continues. Nothing boosts sales better than anxiety about the wrong people showing up at the top of the political preference polls.
Whatever shall we do? Whose fault is it? What does it mean? Is the apocalypse upon us?
Abrasion abounds and lotion sales skyrocket.
As nearly always, the hand wringers are wrong.
Join me at Washington’s hottest new Italian restaurant, Dentro La Mia Testa, for lunch with the Democracy Duet, the only two people who matter because they will decide the election.
To my left is James Comey, Director of the FBI. If you are a fan of gold plated legal resumés, Comey is high on the list: top notch education; stints in US Attorney offices; Deputy Attorney General; and time served in the private sector as general counsel of both a defense contractor and a hedge fund.
He is 55 years old, 6 feet 8 inches tall and a registered Republican. There are probably 50 law firms throughout the world salivating at the business he can bring to them when he launches an independent investigation practice after his term as FBI Director expires in 2023.
He has decades ahead of him helping scandal-plagued companies unravel the truth for the public if he continues to check just one box: impeccable personal integrity.
Comey is ultimately responsible for the investigation of Hillary Clinton and whether or not she gets indicted.
But infinitely more importantly when she gets indicted or not.
Turning now to the guest on my right.
This is a bit more difficult in that he does not yet exist and he might be a she or one of the trendy variations in between. Whomever this person turns out to be will have been appointed by Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, to chair the Rules Committee at the Republican Convention from July 18 through 21 in Cleveland.
The choice is likely to be the single most important decision Priebus makes during his tenure. It could save or end one of the two political parties or – far more likely – something in between.
The appointee will need to be the essence of political correctness because the decisions he makes will require him to say no to many groups deeply invested in not hearing that word. His job is to deny them their desired outcome but keep them on the team.
What impeccable personal integrity is to James Comey, credibility will be to the man we will call Manuel LeShawn Yitzak al Shabab, IV. Born male, identifies female, NRA member, chooses to be pro-life, son of a coal miner, international trade lawyer, attends the church favored by each thread of his heritage but identifies as a Druid, graduate of Groton and Texas A&M.
In the land of identity politics, Priebus needs to choose someone who seems to be all things to all people. We’ll call him MLSYAS, IV.
I bet you scanned right over the dates of the Republican Convention – July 18-21. You shouldn’t have. They are important. So are the dates of the Democratic Convention – July 25-28 (in Philadelphia in case you are wondering). There are but four days in between the two.
With the players and the timing in mind, join us for a short democracy duet at Dentro La Mia Testa.
LP – Thank you for joining me today. Why are you so important?
Comey – I have to decide when and if the Democratic front-runner should be prosecuted, which would probably end her run.
MLSYAS, IV – I have to decide when and if to derail Donald Trump’s candidacy. Uplifting suggestions from the RNC to the contrary, the Rules Committee can make that happen, albeit at some cost to the overblown perception of democracy.
LP – Tell me a bit about timing, Mr. Comey.
Comey – As you can imagine it is far harder to indict a nominee than a candidate for the nomination. If Mrs. Clinton is nominated in late July, a decision to indict her in August or September essentially decides the election. It would feel like Justice Roberts being the swing vote on Obamacare: right or wrong, finding it unconstitutional would make too much of a mess. The sooner a decision is made the better.
LP – and what about your timing, MLSYAS, IV?
MLSYAS, IV – Well, even though we are Republicans, we like the illusion of democracy. Our base supports us with zealots, money, and primary voters when nobody else gives a damn. We need that to compete with the offers of free stuff from the other side. Our base also supports Trump so it is a little delicate. I don’t have the power to do anything until the convention and then pretty much only if Trump lacks a majority of our delegates.
LP – Mr. Comey, does MLSYAS, IV’s decision impact yours?
Comey – Unfortunately yes. If Trump is the GOP nominee, indicting Hillary pretty much hands him the presidency.
LP – what do you think MLSYAS, IV?
MLSYAS, IV – I agree. We pretend to care about our populist voters but we really respond to the establishment. Almost all of the establishment would loudly prefer Clinton to Trump and quietly prefer Clinton to Cruz. After all, we have been bribing her for years. If either Trump or Cruz were the nominee (especially Trump), we would focus all of our resources on keeping the Senate and let the White House go.
Comey – That makes good sense, MLSYAS, IV but do you feel the same way about Bernie Sanders? What if Hillary gets indicted and we end up with Sanders vs. Trump or Cruz?
MLSYAS, IV – Do you think that zuppa di mare might have been a bit off? I am suddenly feeling quite ill.
Comey – There is a lot of that going around.
LP – This is complicated. MLSYAS, IV can’t do anything until July 18-21 and Mr. Comey can’t do anything after July 25-28. That leaves four days in between. I suppose another lunch then is out of the question.
Comey – Damn right it is.
MLSYAS, IV – Are you out of your mind?
LP – This sounds like advanced game theory more than a democracy duet. Have you talked to any experts in that field?
Comey, MLSYAS, IV in unison – Of course, do you think we are crazy? We have a country to run.