By Hal Brown
Update, new article in Salon blasts NY Times writers: N.Y. Times offers grotesque whitewash of Rep. James Comer, GOP's new attack dog
Lengthy profile of Oversight Committee chair James Comer is loaded with folksy details — but misses the real story
There is a short Salon article by Amanda Marcotte. In it she refers to James Comer, the Kentucky member of the House, as the "newly crowned chair of the House Oversight Committee" hence my illustration above.
The first half of the article before Marcotte went into what is in the title struck me as amazing because it describes the candor and forthrightness of a Republican who is only recently in the public eye, or at least in the eyes of people who follow politics closely.
"You know, the customer's always right."
Rep. James Comer gave this juicy quote to Jonathan Swan and Luke Broadwater for their New York Times profile of the Kentucky Republican. He was explaining his affection for right-wing conspiracy theories. The "customer[s]" in this case, as Swan and Broadwater write, are the "vengeful, hard-right voters" who "propelled Comer to stardom" in the GOP.
It's quite an admission from the newly crowned chair of the House Oversight Committee. When asked why he is so intent on using his powers, as Swan and Broadwater write, "to investigate unhinged claims about President Biden and Democrats," Comer could have played political word games, pretending either to take these conspiracy theories more seriously than he actually does. He could have feigned outrage at the suggestion that his motives are anything less than honorable. Instead, Comer seems unconcerned to be seen, to the readers of the New York Times anyway, as a huckster for disinformation scraped out of the darkest corners of the internet.
"They don't know that it's QAnon," he even told Swan and Broadwater, "but it's QAnon stuff."
Former senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted that “Jim Comer has a Trumpian blend of incompetence and malice”. Comer is described as the an "aggressive promoter of sinister-sounding claims about the president and his family" in The New York Times. The Times also says he "has gone from being a favorite Republican among Democrats in Kentucky’s Legislature to a commander of the G.O.P. war machine in Congress."This is from the Times article:
Appearing on Fox News in January, Mr. Comer implied, without evidence, that there was a connection between Mr. Biden improperly holding on to classified documents when he was a private citizen and his son, Hunter, receiving a diamond from a Chinese tycoon. In another segment Mr. Comer lamented that Beau Biden, the president’s other son, who died of cancer in 2015, was never investigated.
His embrace of such statements reflects how Mr. Comer, who voted to certify Mr. Biden’s victory and was a favorite among Democrats in Kentucky’s Legislature, has transformed himself to command the Republican war machine in Congress — becoming a high-profile example of what it takes to rise and thrive in the Fox News-fed MAGA universe.
It also underscores the cutthroat instincts of Mr. Comer, who presents himself as an affable country boy of limited abilities, but who has proved to be a methodical and transactional political operator, willing to go to great lengths to crush his adversaries.
During his campaign for governor in 2015, facing allegations of abuse from an ex-girlfriend who also said he had taken her to get an abortion, Mr. Comer worked to discredit a blogger reporting on the claims and a campaign rival he believed was behind them, leaking private emails between the two. Mr. Comer denied the woman’s charges but lost the race anyway.
The honesty shown in the interview with Swan and Broadwater is surprising, but it also may be an example of his incompetence. Why would he want to put it out there that he is deliberately manipulating people who voted him into office with lies? Whoever runs against him in the future would be stupid if they didn't use this against him.
What are we to make about how honest he was with Jonathan Karl and Luke Broadwater interviewing him for a newspaper he'd probably refer to as a purveyor of fake news? Does he assume that none of the Kentuckians who elected him four times to represent them will ever read it? After all he basically just called them ignoramuses.