Through James Comey, America is Great Again
Michelle Obama famously said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” The former first lady’s words were on my lips this week as I watched dismissed FBI director, James Comey, tell his cat-and-mouse story of a worried president and his wary appointee.
I’m not sure of Comey’s politics. That’s supposed to matter. I am sure of his skills, however, in the certain art and application of my specialty, influence strategy. Indeed, he’s a playmaker of unusual prowess. When he reflected to the senate intelligence committee, “It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re coming after America…” I scooted forward in my chair. And when he invoked Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill, I said to myself, Hell ya!
I was cheering for a public servant who stood at the center of a long-awaited and twitter-free discussion on the mutual threats of a loyalty-first president and Russia’s fake news attack on the U.S. 2016 elections.
Comey’s story and strategies are a lesson to politicos, communicators and marketers alike: Authenticity works, but only when vulnerability is offered.
What Comey projected was the image of a practiced but flawed American and whose account reminds us that modern propagandists, from Alex Jones to Mother Jones, are eclipsing reason and critical thinking. He is a bureaucrat who managed sprawl. He is an insider, a true swamp species. He’s an equal-opportunity party-crasher, from Hillary Clinton’s fate to Donald Trump’s future. And, yes, he’s a leaker of private accounts. But that he hid none of this makes him credible and his story and strategies are a lesson to politicos, communicators and marketers alike: Authenticity works, but only when vulnerability is offered.
For the first time in many months I saw a government man who I trusted and whose means and methods I want to champion. He admitted that he’s played the game. He described his ploys and cunning. And he allowed us to judge him. He did his job, perhaps in ways that were too clever, but he took responsibility for it and he’ll suffer or prosper as we see fit.
James Comey was great this week. And through him America is great again.