On the Anti-Eric Holder Movement

12 12 2008

By nominating Eric Holder (see picture) to become the nation’s next attorney general, President-elect Barack Obama intended to signify the end of Bush era cronyism, incompetence, politicization, and use of enhanced torture techniques at the Department of Justice.

At the press conference where the President-elect unveiled his national security team, Obama said, “Let me be clear. The attorney general serves the American people. And I have every expectation that Eric will protect our people, uphold the public trust, and adhere to our Constitution.”

He also praised Holder’s independence and spoke of the native New Yorker’s deep familiarity “with the law enforcement challenges we face from terrorism to counterintelligence, from white-collar crime to public corruption.”

But there seems to be a movement afoot in among conservatives to portray Holder as a figure that lacks the integrity and the independence necessary to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer. In referring to the Marck Rich affair, the National Review tell us that Obama  nominated an “AG nominee who promoted a corrupt pardon process that sprung mass-murderers from prison.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board would have their readers believe that Holder is a terrorist sympathizer because President Clinton pardoned 16 members of a rebel and domestic terrorist group seeking state sovereignty for Puerto Rico called the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional. Other critics of the Holder nomination are even dredging up the whole Elian Gonzales affair as another instance that implicated him in another low point for the Clinton administration.

One has to wonder why the Holder opposition people were not as critical of the Alberto Gonzales nomination, considering he would be going from White House Counsel to running the Department of Justice. As many people pointed out at the time the appointment was fraught with conflicts of interest problems. At least Holder did not come from an Obama White House position to become the nation’s top lawyer.

At any rate, for his part, Holder has already admitted that the Marc Rich incident was a mistake. This is not to say that it does not merit scrutiny. But it does suggest, however, that it should not overshadow a long record of distinction in public service.

Here is a man who served as a federal prosecutor within the Justice Department’s Office of Public Integrity  going after everyone from influence peddlers in and out of government and organized crime figures. As Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, Holder also “issued guidelines on the use of the False Claims Act in civil health care matters,” according to his biography on the Covington & Burling website.

After serving as a judge for some time, Holder also set up a Children Exposed to Violence Initiative within the Justice Department. In sum, Holder has the experience, the record, and the know how to run the Justice Department – all of which is a must for the next AG nominee considering its the Department’s current state. But of course, the real goal here is not to shoot he kill on this nomination in my opinion, the real goal here by conservatives is not to kill the Holder nomination, but to generate enough of a cloud of suspicion and simply to knock Obama down  a notch.

Just as the guilt by association card has been used to implicate Obama in the  Gov. Blagojevich pay to play scandal right wingers are trying to use Holder’s involvement in President Clinton’s controversial pardons to tar Holder and Obama with the same brush of perceived corruption.

And now the anti-Holder opposition has resorted to pressuring Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy to delay the start of the confirmation hearings. Sam Stein of the Huffington Post is reporting that Republican Senators Jon Kyl and Tom Coburn have signaled that if they are not given more time to “consider” Holder’s record, they will hold up his confirmation, i.e., filibuster the nomination. If Senator Leahy were to grant to such a request, that would only penalize Obama for having picked his nominee so early, which gave the Senate at least 39 days to review Holder’s record. And as Leahy himself noted in a letter to Senator Arlen Specter on the same subject:

Other Attorney General nominations, which you and I have considered together, include that of your fellow Pennsylvanian, Dick Thornburgh, whose hearing was held 24 days after he was announced. He remained in office when Vice President George H.W. Bush was elected President. When he left the post toward the end of that administration, we proceeded with Bill Barr, whose hearing was held 25 days after he was announced. The beginning of President Clinton’s administration was unusual, but when he settled on Janet Reno, her hearing was held 26 days after she was announced.

News reports feel say the Obama team feels fairly confident that they have they votes, but they may be concerned that if the Republicans can make the vote on the nomination partisian then they could force the President-elect to expend the kind of political capital the won his centrist transition team a 79 percent approval rating.

The Holder nomination serve as an early test of whether or not team Obama can handle Republican opposition in Senate as much as it will serve as an early indication of how united the GOP’s caucus is in the that chamber.




One response

8 03 2009
Andrew Yu-Jen Wang

Speaking of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

Eric Holder is a racial-minority individual, and in his heart and mind he inevitably does not endorse hate crimes committed by George W. Bush.

George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

Many people know what Bush did.

And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

Bush was absolute evil.

Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

Bush is a psychological prisoner.

Bush has a lot to worry about.

Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

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