“In college, I was left of center,” explained James Comey in an interview with New York magazine, “and through a gradual process I found myself more comfortable with a lot of the ideas and approaches the Republicans were using.” Comey voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980, but says that four years later, in 1984, “I voted for Reagan — I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”
Comey was once a communist. And look deeper at his statement: “I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”
Which leaves us wondering if James Comey has yet figured it out.
This odd blast from Comey’s past explains some things. While somewhat surprising, it actually makes sense, because James Comey is politically puzzling. You can’t quite figure him out, and apparently neither can he. He’s hard to pin down politically, to take seriously. He’s sort of a political-ideological enigma, a jester (clown seems too harsh). This weird communist statement is kind of instructive.
Granted, James Comey did full penance in 1984 by swinging all the way to the other side and voting for Reagan. He was far from alone. I could rattle off names of individuals who were once communists but by 1984 joined the rest of respectable America in voting for Reagan. Sources as diverse of David Horowitz, Marvin Olasky, Ron Radosh, Joseph Farah, even Father Robert Sirico, among others, were far left but eventually became Reagan conservatives.
And yet, as Tyler Durden notes, the same can’t be said of John Brennan, the Obama CIA director who around this same time voted for the Communist Party presidential ticket of Gus Hall and Angela Davis and has remained on the left ever since. Brennan admitted publicly, in September 2016, that when he took his polygraph test for the CIA in 1980, he had already cast a ballot for Gus Hall as president of the United States. Hall was a stooge of the Kremlin, a shameless lackey for Moscow, and he was John Brennan’s choice. Remarkably, Brennan even suggested he had been a member of the Communist Party. He recalled telling the polygrapher: “I said, ‘I’m not a member of the Communist Party,’ so the polygrapher looked at me and said, ‘OK,’ and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, ‘Well, I’m screwed.’”
Busted, right? Apparently not. Jimmy Carter’s CIA let him in, allowing him to rise one day to the heights of head of the agency under Barack Obama.
But the Brennan aspect sheds light on something still more troubling about this scenario. This means that President Barack Obama had not only the first CIA director who had been a communist but, simultaneously, the first FBI director who had been one. Leave it to Obama.
And worse, Barack Obama himself was probably a communist in 1980. I laid this out at length in my book on Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, which was appropriately short-titled, The Communist.
For that book, I interviewed Dr. John Drew, who met Obama at Occidental College, where Drew had run the campus Marxist organization. Drew’s girlfriend introduced the young Obama as “one of us.” Drew told me: “Obama was already an ardent Marxist when I met him in the fall of 1980. I know it’s incendiary to say this, but Obama was basically a Marxist-Leninist.”
You can read Dreams From My Father and catch Obama ruminating about how he “hung out” with Marxist professors and attended “socialist conferences.” John Drew hastens to add that what Obama did not explain in Dreams is that he “was in 100 percent, total agreement with these Marxist professors.” Drew continued:
At the time I met him — this was probably around Christmastime in 1980, because I had flown out during Christmas break from Cornell, where I was doing my graduate work — young Obama was looking forward to an imminent social revolution, literally a movement where the working classes would overthrow the ruling class and institute a kind of socialist utopia in the United States. I mean, that’s how extreme his views were.… I was kind of more [in] the Frankfurt School of Marxism at the time. I felt like I was doing Obama a favor by pointing out that the Marxist revolution that he and [our friends] were hoping for was really kind of a pipedream…. I was still a card-carrying Marxist, but I was kind of a more advanced, East Coast, Cornell University Marxist, I think, at the time. [Obama] kind of thought I was, you know, a little reactionary… like I was kind of insensitive to the needs of the coming revolution. [Obama] was full-bore, 100% into that simpleminded Marxist, revolutionary mental framework.
Of course, to repeat, people do change, often dramatically — though they usually tell us about the change and how and why. Obama, however, never did, not even in two lengthy memoirs published before he set foot in the Oval Office. We have no conversion narrative from Obama — nothing explaining when and where he left all that Marxist junk behind.
Obama certainly didn’t vote for Reagan in 1984. Quite the contrary, in chapter 7 of Dreams, the future apostle of “hope and change” employed the word “change” seven times in the opening paragraphs, including the need in the 1980s for “change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds.”
Reagan and his minions, and their dirty deeds. Obama perceived an America that needed a “change in the mood of the country.” Reagan’s “morning in America,” beloved by millions, to the point where Reagan won 49 of 50 states, needed to be changed in Obama’s America.
Barack Hussein Obama yearned for an America more like him. And like John Brennan, he remained on the far left. One wonders if a young Obama and a young Brennan — and maybe even a young comrade Comey — bumped into one another at one of those socialist conferences.
“I chose my friends carefully,” Obama wrote in Dreams From My Father. “The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz [sic] Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints.”
Well, in 2008, they shook America. They took the White House.
(Mr. Durden, can you find any old photos of John Brennan smoking a cigarette in a leather jacket? Maybe at a Dead Kennedys show?)
Just a handful of years ago, ladies and gentlemen, America had a unique troika running the White House, the FBI, and the CIA. What a fundamental transformation it was.
*Author’s note: Paul Kengor has learned since the publication of this article that the Comey interview with New York magazine kicks off a discussion of Comey’s ideological roots in Diana West’s new book, The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.