Political Hay

Holder Has Long Been Contemptible

Just don't let him resign before November 6.

By 6.21.12

Send to Kindle

While the House Oversight Committee has now recommended that Congress hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his conduct during the Fast and Furious scandal, one could make the case that Holder has long held the American public in contempt.

After all, how many cabinet secretaries begin their tenure by calling his fellow Americans "a nation of cowards" where it concerned the question of racism? Never mind that America has become a nation where racism is not only unacceptable but a nation where, outside of being called a murderer or a rapist, nothing is worse than being called a racist.

If anyone has behaved cowardly where it concerns racism, it is Holder. What can one say about a man who sees fit to drop a successfully prosecuted case of voter intimidation? If two members of the Ku Klux Klan had held a baton in front of polling station in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to intimidate black voters, Holder would have spared no effort to prosecute them. But when it comes to two members of the New Black Panthers holding a baton in front of polling station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to intimidate white voters, Holder could not care less. During testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in March 2011, Holder said:

When you compare what people endured in the South in the '60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia… I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people.

No, the great disservice here is an Attorney General who does not comprehend the basic legal concept of "equal justice under law." Eric Holder is the Attorney General of the United States, not the Attorney General of his people.

Yet what can we expect of a public official who does not have the courtesy to read legislation he contended would lead to increased racial profiling? Oh, pardon me. Holder did say he "glanced" at the Arizona immigration law. It would have been nice if Holder taken the copy of S.B. 1070 that Texas Congressman Ted Poe so generously offered him. Then again it probably wouldn't have made a difference. Holder's Department of Injustice was going to sue Arizona whether he read the bill or not.

After all, what can we expect of a public official who wanted to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York? Holder looked like a first-year law student back in November 2009 when Senator Lindsey Graham asked him if he could cite a case where an enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court. His embarrassing reply is probably the reason why the Obama Administration chose to kill Osama bin Laden rather than capture him. Like other members of the Obama Administration, Holder cannot bring himself to utter the words "radical Islam."

But for all of Holder's trespasses during his tenure as Attorney General, Fast and Furious is his most serious transgression. An ill-advised scheme to ship arms to Mexican drug lords has resulted in the deaths of two law enforcement officers. Liberals like Alan Colmes can argue that Holder stopped "Fast and Furious" and blame the Bush Administration until he is blue in the face. But how could Holder have stopped something he claimed to have no knowledge of in the first place? Besides if Holder had stopped Fast and Furious dead in its tracks, wouldn't someone in the Obama Administration have seen fit to leak such information?

Alas, no. Instead we have an Attorney General who uses the race card to immunize himself from criticism. In December 2011, Holder told the New York Times, "This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American."

Ah yes, from the Janeane Garofalo School of Government which states that all Republican criticism of President Obama and, by extension, Eric Holder is motivated solely by race. It looks like Chris Matthews is giving the valedictory address. If Holder is suggesting that Republicans would not have called a white Attorney General in a Democrat administration to account for something like Fast and Furious" is patently absurd. But President Obama rewards Holder's loyalty by invoking executive privilege.

Last week, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Texas Senator John Cornyn called on Holder to resign to his face.

I humbly disagree. I say Holder should remain as Attorney General. The longer Holder remains in office and the angrier Americans become about Fast and Furious, the bigger an albatross Holder remains around the neck of President Obama. All of which reflects poorly on President Obama's judgment or lack thereof in appointing Holder as his Attorney General in the first place. If the American public should now hold Eric Holder in contempt, the American public may do the same with President Obama in November.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.