The Obama Watch

Holder the Hater

Far from changing the tone in Washington, President Obama's choice for attorney general has a visceral contempt for conservatives.

By 1.29.09

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If President Obama is hoping to change the tone in Washington, it's hard to imagine how having Eric Holder onboard as his attorney general will help accomplish that goal.

Much has been written about would-be Attorney General Holder's support for liberal positions, but little has been written about his visceral contempt for conservatives.

His public utterances are chock full of the same old tiresome liberal clichés about those on the right one might find on the Daily Kos website.

The president's bilious nominee told an American Constitution Society gathering in 2004 that "conservatives have been defenders of the status quo, afraid of the future, and content to allow to continue to exist all but the most blatant inequalities." They have "made a mockery of the rule of law." Conservatives try to "put the environment at risk for the sake of unproven economic theories, to play to the fears of our citizens, and not to their hopes, and to return the nation to a time that in fact never existed."

Conservatives are "breathtaking" in their "arrogance," Holder claimed. "From redistricting schemes, to attacks on abortion rights, to energy policies that are as shortsighted as they are ineffective, to tax cuts that disproportionately favor those who are well off and perpetuate many of the inequities in our nation, the conservative movement has been unafraid to push the limits in advancing this agenda."

Holder denounced what he called "the conservative agenda of social division, mindless tax cutting, and a defense posture that does not really make us safer."

Elsewhere in that ode to liberalism in which he gave credit to leftists for all that is good in modern America, he seemed sympathetic to the so-called Fairness Doctrine:

The nation must be reminded that the word liberal is more than a conservative slur. The nation must be reminded that it was the progressive, liberal tradition that brought about the social and economic changes that were necessary many years ago. The nation must be convinced that it is a progressive future that holds the greatest promise for equality and the continuation of those policies that serve to support the greatest number of our people. In the short term this will not be an easy task. With the mainstream media somewhat cowered by conservative critics, and the conservative media disseminating the news in anything but a fair and balanced manner, and you know what I mean there, the means to reach the greatest number of people is not easily accessible.

Holder also has a long history of involvement in charities and nonprofits that seek to stick it to conservatives.

He has been a member of the board of directors of the American Constitution Society, the mirror image of the Federalist Society. The ACS believes in the myth of the "living" Constitution and views the limits that great charter places on government power as quaint anachronisms to be overcome through clever legal sophistry.

ACS is, of course, funded by the big players in left-wing political finance, including members of the billionaires' club, the Democracy Alliance. Reliably liberal benefactors of ACS include George Soros's Open Society Institute ($2,201,500 since 2002), Ford Foundation ($600,000 since 2003), Sandler Family Supporting Foundation ($200,000 in 2003), Tides Foundation ($25,000 since 2002), Barbra Streisand Foundation ($20,000 since 2002).

Meanwhile, it has been exhaustively documented that Holder has what could charitably be called a cavalier approach to a key civil right, you know, that inconvenient, archaic one described in the Second Amendment that the media wishes we would all forget about.

As the Independent Institute's Stephen P. Halbrook, author of The Founder's Second Amendment, told a Senate panel considering the nomination, "many Americans have reason to be uneasy about Mr. Holder's nomination for attorney general. They deserve to have a person in this role who is committed to upholding all parts of the Constitution, including the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, Mr. Holder has proven himself not to be that person."

As deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, Holder pushed for federal licensing of handgun owners and federal registration of guns, waiting periods for gun purchases, and rationing of handgun sales. The former Janet Reno acolyte signed on to a pro-gun prohibition amicus curiae brief in District of Columbia v. Heller, last year's groundbreaking Supreme Court case in which justices struck down the District's oppressive handgun ban.

Holder played a role in securing a presidential pardon for a fugitive (Marc Rich) and sentence commutations for Puerto Rican terrorists. He served as apologist for the Clinton administration after it defied a federal court order and seized 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in 2000.

Holder cares little about electoral fraud. "I think there is a feeling among Republicans that there is a widespread amount of voter fraud out there. I don't think the statistics actually would substantiate it," he told Fox News in 2004.

Holder rarely misses an opportunity to advocate expanding the size and scope of the federal government. He told the 2004 ACS gathering, "Government has been the primary force for positive social change in our country's history. It can be again."

Holder's nomination was approved Jan. 28 by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 17 to 2 vote. Only Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) voted in the negative. After initial grumbling about Holder's role in the Marc Rich pardon, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) flip-flopped, as is his wont, and bipartisan euphoria broke out.

The full Senate could take up the nomination as soon as today

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About the Author

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist at a conservative watchdog group in Washington, D.C. Vadum is also author of Subversion Inc: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.