Good Comey, Bad Comey

Rich Galen
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Posted: Nov 07, 2016 12:01 AM
Good Comey, Bad Comey

First, some background.

Despite the fact that we have all focused 117% of our attention on the race for President, there are tens of thousands of Americans running for everything from Governor to State House, to County Commissions, to Mayors and City Councils.

For example, Ballotpedia.com states that "5,923 of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for election" on Tuesday. Some places (like the Commonwealth of Virginia) hold state and local elections in the odd-numbered years. Our race for Governor and state house seats, in Virginia, will be held in 2017.

November 8 is the latest a federal election can be held by law. In 1845 the Congress determined that the date for the election of Presidential Electors would be the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Thus, the earliest date for a Presidential election would be November 2 (if November 1 were a Monday); and, the latest is November 8 (as November 1 was a Tuesday and election day has to be the first Tuesday after the first Monday.

The 20th Amendment moved the date of the beginning of the terms for President and Members of Congress to January 20th and January 3rd (more-or-less). It was adopted in 1933 when it became obvious that the four month delay between election and taking office was no longer necessary to have people travel to Washington, DC for the purpose.

That catches us up on the history.

Now, let's talk about FBI Director James Comey.

For Democrats he was the "Good Comey" (and for Republicans, the "Bad Comey") last June when he made a public statement followed by Congressional testimony saying he would not recommend bringing a case against Hillary Clinton.

Two weeks ago he was the "Bad Comey" for Democrats and the "Good Comey" for Republicans when he sent a letter to Congress saying the FBI had stumbled across some emails that needed looking at to see if they provided any new information on the Clinton email case.

Then, yesterday, he was the Bad/Good Comey or the Good/Bad Comey sending yet another letter to Congress saying the FBI had processed and reviewed "a large volume of emails"believed to have been on Anthony Weiner's computer and had determined there was nothing new and his original statement about not prosecuting Clinton still held.

We have been told that there were 650,000 emails on Weiner's machine. The FBI, I believe, has sophisticated software to analyze that many emails meaning they didn't hire a bunch of retirees from the Library of Congress to sit at long tables in a high school gym and go through them one-by-one.

There is no question that his letter of Friday, October 28, did serious damage to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Prior to that, the sounds of printers in the offices of Democrat lawyers and lobbyists in Washington running off copies of resumes to send into the Clinton transition office was like a 13-year cicada invasion.

Then Comey's October 28 letter reversed her momentum and allowed the Donald Trump campaign to claim states that had been out of reach were now back in play, and states that the Clinton campaign had been saying might be theirs for the taking, no longer were.

As a potential side benefit for the GOP, if Trump was closing in on some battleground states that also have Senate elections, it is likely more Republicans will come out to vote in the down ballot races. Democrats were suddenly not as giddy about taking control of the Senate as they had been a week or so earlier.

It appeared that the polling collapse stabilized late last week, and some glimmers of hope were appearing in the public polling over the weekend.

I don't think Director Comey's letter of yesterday will erase the damage of the October 28th letter. For one thing, tens of millions of people appeared to have voted early in the 9 days between the two. The conventional wisdom is that some number of "soft" Clinton voters might have voted for Trump.

In most places we know whether more Rs than Ds (or the other way around) have voted early, but we don't know for whom they voted. If there were large numbers of Republicans who had talked themselves into voting for Clinton prior to the first Comey letter, some percentage of them may have either changed their minds or not voted early at all.

The Clinton campaign didn't want to be talking about emails in the final hours whether the news was bad or good. Having voters talking about her email issues as they prepare to go to the polls, is not helpful to the Clinton side.

However, having Comey re-close the books on the investigation is a lot better than having sent a letter saying he was suggesting the empaneling of a Grand Jury (which he did not do).

Anyway, we're within hours of knowing who will be our next President.

Not a moment too soon.