The James Comey crackup: A tutorial in cognitive dissonance

by WorldTribune Staff, May 11, 2017

The “bizarre situation” in which Democrats and Republicans, for different reasons, wanted FBI Director James Comey fired is the perfect set-up for cognitive dissonance, Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote in his May 10 blog.

“Democrats and the Opposition Media reflexively oppose almost everything President Trump does,” Adams wrote. “This time he gave them something they wanted, badly, but not for the reason they wanted. That’s a trigger. It forces anti-Trumpers to act angry in public that he did the thing they wanted him to do. And they are.”

In sacking FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump did ‘what he said he was gonna do, drain the swamp,’ Rush Limbaugh said on May 10. /AP

Adams noted that President Donald Trump was clever to say in his letter ousting Comey that “while I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

Adams wrote: “That one odd sentence caused every media outlet to display the quote and talk about it, over and over. And when you focus on something, no matter the reason, it rises in importance in your mind. President Trump, the Master Persuader, made all of us think about the ‘not under investigation’ part over, and over, and over.

“The trick here is that members of Trump’s campaign might be the ones under investigation, not Trump himself. But that’s where the complexity of this topic is useful to the Master Persuader. The viewing public won’t make that distinction. All they will hear – over and over – is the ‘not under investigation’ part.”

Adams continued: “My favorite part of this firing – from a persuasion perspective – is that it is such a strong move. The pure dominance of the play is what will stick in our minds. This was some ballsy Presidenting. That’s the lasting takeaway. You’ll remember the boldness long after you forget the timing and the details.”

Adams says his take on Comey’s handling of the Clinton email issue “remains the same,” adding he believes Comey “sacrificed his career and reputation to avoid taking from the American voters their option of having the leader of their choice. If Comey had pushed for Clinton’s indictment, the country would have ended up with a President Trump without a ‘fair’ election. That was the worst-case scenario for the country and the world.

“Comey prevented that disaster while still making it clear to the American public that Clinton was not guilt-free with her email server. He let the voters decide how much weight to assign all of that. In my opinion, Comey handled the Clinton email situation like a patriot.”

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh on May 10 said the Democratic Party and the media have made it clear that Hillary Clinton “is fodder. She is irrelevant here. (laughing) It is amazing. Two days ago, they were all talking about how Comey needs to be fired because of how he was mistreating Hillary, and the Hillary people were running around claiming that Comey’s a bad guy. And now Comey gets fired, and all of a sudden they do a 180.”

Democrats, Limbaugh said, “really believe Trump fired Comey because he might have been getting close, under the asinine belief that firing Comey’s gonna stop the investigation? How many investigations are there? The House has one. The Senate has one. The FBI’s got their own.

“Do you know who’s running the FBI today? (Andrew) McCabe, a Democrat! His wife ran for the Senate or ran for governor of Virginia. He’s very close to The Punk, Terry McAuliffe. The guy is a hardened Democrat. He’s now running the FBI. He’s in charge of the investigation to get Trump.”

Limbaugh continued: “Take every inane, dumb, stupid political claim they make and attach it to this story. You know how they’re so off track, this Russia investigation… It’s not even a criminal investigation. They don’t even know this. Whatever the FBI is doing looking into whether the Russians tampered with or hacked the election or colluded with Trump, is not a criminal investigation. It’s a counterintelligence investigation. It’s not even pursuing Trump on the basis of criminality here.

“Trump is making fools of these people. He’s doing what he said he was gonna do – draining the swamp, clearing it out – and they just cannot deal with this.”