Former FBI Director James Comey — a lifelong Republican — urged Americans to vote for Democrats this November, echoing other #NeverTrump Republicans in abandoning conservatism just to flout the president. Ironically, his reasoning fits better for supporting Republicans than Democrats.
“The Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that ‘Ambition must … counteract ambition,'” Comey tweeted. “All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall.”
This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must … counteract ambition.” All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.
— James Comey (@Comey) July 18, 2018
Comey tweeted this at a time when not only progressivism (the ideology that encourages a bureaucratic state unaccountable to the people) but outright socialism (a supercharged big government version of that ideology) holds sway in the Democratic Party.
If Comey were truly interested in “ambition counteracting ambition,” he would encourage years of more effective Republican rule, because only Republicans have shown the spine to begin dismantling the unaccountable bureaucracies that represent the greatest threat to the founders’ vision.
On Monday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a chilling blow to the unaccountable bureaucracy. That court struck down one alphabet soup agency — the FHFA — as unconstitutional because it violated the separation of powers. The FHFA is an administrative agency, but it was not accountable to the head of the administration, the president of the United States. The 5th Circuit defended the Constitution and restored sanity to the operation of government.
Similarly, President Donald Trump has been slashing regulations and ordering his administration to pare back the excesses of the administrative state. Furthermore, on the very day Comey told Republicans to vote Democrat, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018, a law that would vastly benefit entrepreneurs.
When James Madison wrote that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” in Federalist 51, he was not addressing the different parties in Congress — the founders firmly opposed modern parties, what they would call “factions.” Instead, he was addressing the separation of powers between the Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.
“Faction” has dominated American politics for nearly 200 years — with only a few respites. The separation of powers, however, has fallen on hard times. The current bureaucratic administrative state consists of dozens of alphabet soup agencies that effectively make laws, with very little oversight from Congress and rather tepid oversight from the president.
If the costs of federal regulation flowed down to U.S. households, they would cost the average American family $14,809 in a hidden regulatory tax — that’s $14,809 on top of Social Security, income tax, and estate tax.
Furthermore, the administrative state fosters the perverse situation of a “deep state.” There are so many bureaucratic agencies that it takes a long time for a new president to replace the directors the previous president put in place. For this reason, there can be a large cabal of bureaucrats appointed by the last president (in this case Obama) who are hostile to the policies of the current president (in this case Trump).
The leaders of the progressive movement intentionally set out to undermine the Constitution and to create a “scientific” bureaucracy that would make regulations and be unaccountable to the people — whom progressives thought could not be trusted with control over their own affairs.
Dismantling this system is the single most important issue if anyone wants to return to the founders’ vision of ambition counteracting ambition. Tragically, the Republican Party has proven rather tepid about doing this. That’s why the Tea Party in 2010 erupted — to push Republicans in Congress in the direction of returning to the Constitution. Stalwarts like Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are leading the charge on these issues, but the Republican Party needs more of them.
President Donald Trump has begun slashing regulations and returning sanity to the administrative state, but the Republican Congress needs to pass something like the REINS Act. This supremely important piece of legislation — which requires Congressional approval for regulations that would have a huge impact on the economy — passed the House last year, but has not yet passed the Senate.
If James Comey really wanted to return to the founders’ vision of ambition counteracting ambition, he would support Tea Party and conservative Republicans. These leaders would actually restore the Constitutional checks and balances, reining in the administrative state.
Instead, Comey turned traitor not just to the Republican Party but to the Constitution itself, supporting Democrats who are embracing socialism and even less separation of powers. Make no mistake: Comey’s “higher loyalty” is not to the Constitution.