FBI Director James Comey’s October Surprise: a Republican “coup d’etat”?

“Coup,” as in coup d’etat, is a funny word. It can denote a conspiracy or it can denote a relatively open usurpation of power, or a gradual part-open/part-covert one, as in the rise to power of Hitler.

Congressman Jerry Nadler took a lot of heat in the late 1990s by calling the Republican impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton an attempted “coup.” But in fact there was a secretive conspiracy by a group of lawyers called the Federalist Society that started the ball rolling. And although the Republicans lacked sufficient domination of Congress to carry through on the legislative “coup,” the blow-back resulted in a judicial “coup” by the Republican-dominated Supreme Court in 2000 that handed the White House to George W. Bush.

This in turn resulted in the usurpation of power by Dick Cheney, which one might call a “coup based on an IQ deficit” (or a “coup based on naivete and inexperience” if one doesn’t think Bush was all that dumb). Such coups were common in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance when a hereditary monarch proved to be either lacking in smarts or excessively timid or mentally ill. (Well, aren’t the Republicans the party that keeps trying to take us back to the Middle Ages?)

Now we see what amounts to an attempted coup by way of the FBI, an agency riddled with far-right Republicans. We have FBI director Comey breaking with precedent and defying the Justice Department to announce, just 11 days before the Presidential election, that he has some files–supposedly from an unrelated (???) investigation of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner–that contain copies of Hillary Clinton emails. Comey and the FBI have thus handed the Trump campaign a lifeline–and may have determined the course of the election.

At this point, we don’t know if the emails are duplicates of ones that were examined by the FBI in its now closed investigation of Clinton’s emails, or if any of them contain evidence implicating Clinton in ANYTHING of legal significance. Examining them certainly can’t be done in 11 days and probably will take months. The FBI has also, reportedly, been looking into activities of Donald Trump, but it has obeyed precedent and made no announcement about such an investigation that might influence the election–or otherwise put the FBI in the role of acting like a dirty-tricks secret police.

Does Comey want to help Trump become president? Perhaps not. But Breitbart and other Alt-Right media, and more conventional conservative media as well, have been reporting for a long time that some FBI agents really, really want to bring Hillary Clinton down. Comey may have figured that if he didn’t announce about Anthony Weiner’s computers, others in the agency would leak the information and make matters worse for Comey himself.

So to cover his ass, Comey becomes a “coup” participant of sorts. Like Hindenburg. Even J. Edgar Hoover would not have done this.

George Bush, the GOP’s new rising star?

Daniel Politi authored an interesting story that was posted over at Slate this weekend.  The newest up-and-coming star of the Republican party appears to be George Bush.  No, this is not a case of one of the previous incarnations making a come back.  This is a brand new, possibly improved member of the trusty Bush clan.

George Prescott Bush, son of Jeb, grandson of George Herbert Walker, nephew of GW, has filed the necessary paperwork to run for land commissioner in Texas, no doubt a starting point for higher political aspirations.  Bush’s planned arrival on the political scene and, if previous family successes are any indicator, his potential for advancement could not have come at a more opportune time for the Republicans.  According to Politi, “George P. Bush is Hispanic, speaks fluent Spanish, has served in Afghanistan in the U.S. Navy, and has worked at recruiting young voters.”  For a GOP that dismally failed to capture both the Latino and youth votes this year, Bush represents the necessary new direction for a Republican party that needs to get younger and less white in order to stay competitive while national demographics continue to shift.

But how will Republican voters, and the rest of America, react to yet another George Bush angling for political power?  It is certainly not fair to judge George Prescott on the record of his one term grandfather or his uncle, who so embarrassed the GOP that he has been AWOL for the last two election cycles.  But in politics, image can often times be more important than substance.  Perhaps it would be advisable to drop the George and just go by Prescott.  Sure, that is a name for an old, rich, white guy, but that’s a stigma that every Republican has to overcome.

Author’s Note:

This piece was originally posted on my personal blog (shameless self-promotion complete), after which Rich D’Loss was kind enough to remind me that the name Prescott Bush was not without its stigma as well.  At least not to anyone with a sense of history.