- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2018

After weeks of hubbub, James B. Comey the author has emerged. His book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership” is in stores Tuesday. His broadcast debut on ABC drew 9.8 million viewers on Sunday night but was still bested by the Academy of Country Music Awards on rival CBS, which attracted 11.5 million. Amused media critics pointed out that adult film actress Stormy Daniels‘ recent appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes” garnered an audience of 22 million. Some observers are predictably unimpressed.

“James Comey’s publicity tour reaffirms that his true higher loyalty is to himself. The only thing worse than Comey’s history of misconduct is his willingness to say anything to sell books. He has no credibility and President Trump was right to follow through on the bipartisan calls for him to be fired,” says Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Anthony Scaramucci — who got fired from the White House after only 11 days on the job — has advice for Mr. Comey.

“You worked for the president — he was your boss, OK. He elected to fire you. I got fired. No big deal. I’m still loyal to the president. And I think that when you are the director of the FBI, you are at a certain level. Subordinate yourself to the president, and zip your mouth,” Mr. Scaramucci advised the author during an appearance on Fox News on Monday.

Meanwhile, the publicity blitz is on. Mr. Comey’s schedule is wall-to-wall in the next 72 hours. He’ll sit down for interviews with Bret Baier on Fox News, Judy Woodruff on PBS, Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper on CNN, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Stephen Colbert on CBS and “The View” on ABC. His 10-city national book tour begins Wednesday.

How’s it all going? It’s complicated. The press is tracking Mr. Comey’s metamorphosis from former government official to a public figure now under a very bright spotlight, and before a fickle audience. A few headlines of note:

“James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’ is a study in contradictions” (Rolling Stone); “Could James Comey’s book threaten credibility as chief prosecution witness?” (USA Today); “Is Comey a hero or villain? That’s the wrong question” (Washington Post); “Mainstream media attacks James Comey from the left despite ex-FBI boss’ constant Trump bashing” (Fox News); “James Comey: A legend in his own mind, but not at the FBI” (Power Line); “George Stephanopoulos is Comey’s Homie” (American Spectator); “Comey may be many things, but is he really a liar?” (BBC News); “Trump: Comey, McCabe ‘committed many crimes” (The Hill).

BLUE WAVE, OR MAYBE NOT

“How likely are you to vote in the congressional election in 2018?” asks a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday. The question is of acute interest among those who wonder if a “blue wave” of Democrats will retake Congress and attempt to impeach President Trump.

The survey found that 67 percent of all voters said they were “absolutely certain to vote” in November; 74 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents agree. Republicans appear more engaged in the midterms at the moment, even if it’s just by a few percentage points.

In the brutal political marketplace, every point counts amid microtargeting and complex ground games; 2018 is still a work in progress.

The poll also found that 67 percent of conservatives are certain to vote — compared to 75 percent of liberals and 65 percent of moderates; 64 percent of women and 70 percent of men, 60 percent of “non whites” and 70 percent of whites, 75 percent of those over 65 and 53 percent of the 18-29-year-old set, 64 percent of people who live in urban settings and 66 percent of those in rural areas.

THE LOYALTY FACTOR

“A funny thing has happened since the Left began its campaign to drive Fox News host Laura Ingraham off the air: Her ratings are up, a lot — by more than 20 percent compared to her last week on the air before the current controversy began,” writes Rich Noyes, senior editor of Newsbusters.org, referencing the disagreement between Ms. Ingraham and anti-gun violence activist David Hogg, who called upon advertisers to pull their support from the show.

The boycott began March 29, with 27 companies planning to pull their advertising from the show, though Ace Hardware has decided to return.

“Other advertisers, such as MyPillow, issued statements defying the boycott and announcing their continued support for Ingraham’s show. Ingraham’s viewers apparently feel the same way,” Mr. Noyes says, citing Nielsen numbers which reveal that 2.7 million people tuned in to the show after the boycott, compared to 2.2 million the previous week.

But there’s more. New Nielsen Media Research numbers finds that “The Ingraham Angle” completely dominated ratings on Friday last week, when news of the U.S. bombing campaign in Syria was breaking. The program had a record-breaking ratings high and was No. 1 in cable news with 4.7 million total viewers and 1,174,000 in the all important 25 to 54-year-old viewer demographic. For the entire week, the program averaged 3 million viewers per night.

JERRY BROWN COMES TO TOWN

California Gov. Jerry Brown arrives in the nation’s capital Tuesday, and he’ll go straight to the National Press Club to have his say.

“Between the battle over border security and illegal immigration, the push to legalize marijuana, and the effort to combat climate change, the State of California seems to be constantly at odds with the agenda of the Trump administration. For Governor Brown, a man known for embracing the political ‘canoe theory’ — the idea that if one paddles a little on the left and a little on the right one can steer safely down the political middle — this is not comfortable territory,” the press club explains, noting that Mr. Brown, 80, is now the longest-serving governor in U.S. history.

He’s then off to an uptown hotel to deliver remarks to North America’s Building Trades Unions 2018 Legislative Conference, where he will be honored with the “Hats Off Award,” organizers say.

Mr. Brown, incidentally, spent Monday in Toronto, Canada, talking climate change and the “fight for the future of the planet” with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, followed by a public “fireside chat.”

POLL DU JOUR

52 percent of Americans are “uncertain” how the new tax reform law will affect their federal income tax; 44 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent of Americans overall say the amount they pay in federal taxes is “about right”; 52 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall say the amount they pay is “too high”; 45 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent overall approve of the new tax law; 78 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,015 U.S. adults conducted April 2-11.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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