The subtext behind Comey’s FBI nomination

Updated
 
The subtext behind Comey's FBI nomination
The subtext behind Comey's FBI nomination
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It’s been three weeks since we learned President Obama will nominate James Comey to lead the FBI, but they’ll make it official at an event this afternoon at the White House.

There’s no shortage of interesting angles to the nomination and Comey’s background, but there’s one aspect to this that I think has been largely overlooked.

As everyone in the political world has likely noticed, there have been a few controversies dogging the Obama administration lately, some more serious than others. There are ongoing investigations into possible wrongdoing and congressional probes underway that hope to turn up some dirt on the White House.

With that in mind, if the president and his team had any reason to worry at all about ongoing investigations casting the White House in a negative light – or worse – there’s simply no way Obama would choose a Republican lawyer with a history of independence to lead the FBI. Indeed, as we talked about in May, just the opposite is true – if Obama were the least bit concerned about any of the so-called “scandals,” he’d almost certainly look for a Democratic ally to lead the FBI.

But the president is doing the opposite – Comey is not only a veteran of the Bush/Cheney administration, he also donated to the McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan campaigns, in the hopes of preventing Obama from getting elected. If the president thought the “scandals” might lead to the Oval Office, he’d never choose someone like Comey to take over the FBI right now.

The subtext is unmistakable: the president knows “there’s no there there” when it comes to Scandal Mania, and he’s not worried in the slightest.

As for the other angles, there are, of course, the remarkable events of 2004 that brought Comey to national prominence; the lengthy list of Republicans chosen for key roles in the Obama administration; and Comey’s relative moderation on social issues, at least by GOP standards.

Will he be confirmed? The odds are clearly in his favor – Roll Call has reported that congressional Republicans effectively see Comey as “about the best pick the Republicans are likely to get out of the Obama White House, and he will face an easier time than if the administration had gone with an Obama insider.”

FBI, James Comey, Justice Department and Scandals

The subtext behind Comey's FBI nomination

Updated