Are contempt charges a game of Capitol Hill chicken? Update: Boehner’s office says “no daylight” between Issa, GOP leadership

posted at 10:01 am on June 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the White House denounced the threat from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to vote on contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder as nothing more than election-year theatrics.  Jay Carney insisted that Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with Oversight:

“[Holder]takes the allegations that have been raised very seriously and that is why he asked the inspector general to investigate the matter,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters today. “It is also why you see the Department cooperating with congressional investigators, including producing 7,600 pages of documents and including testifying at hours and hours on congressional hearings.” …

“Given the Justice Department’s efforts to accommodate the committee investigation, I can only refer you to the Republican House Judiciary member who recently conceded that this investigation is, quote, politics,” Carney said today.

Do House Republicans really want a high-profile showdown for the sake of election-year politicking — or do they just want the documents?  Politico says that Republicans are on the level, and hope to avoid the contempt vote if possible:

House Republicans sounded like they were ready to go to war with the Obama administration Monday over the Fast and Furious program as they announced a committee vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

But behind the scenes, House Republican leaders want nothing more than for the White House and Justice Department to fork over thousands of pages of documents related to the ill-fated gun-running program and avoid a dramatic — and potentially distracting — House floor showdown.

Even as Speaker John Boehner said Monday that the DOJ is “out of excuses,” his staff and the Justice Department are continuing informal discussions. Those talks haven’t yielded any progress, and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is planning his contempt vote for June 20 in committee.

Why?  Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner.  They don’t want to offer any new distractions to the Obama campaign or House Democrats from the sagging economy and the sorry state of job creation.  While GOP leadership wants the documents from the DoJ to which Congress is eminently entitled, they see this as a net negative.

Are they right?  Politically, they may have a point.  However, Democrats are not likely to run on their defense of Eric Holder in any case this November, nor attack Republicans for probing Operation Fast & Furious.  In fact, they’re not likely to mention it at all.  Neither are Republicans, for the reasons noted in the Politico article, except in the presidential race, and even then as perhaps nothing more than a tertiary issue, far down the list from the economy and jobs, followed by the deficit and debt.  It doesn’t look to be as big of a risk for the GOP as it does for Democrats, especially if the documents get released and a smoking gun appears.

Legally, however, Issa is on solid ground, and morally as well, as a Roll Call column argued yesterday.  Legal analysts Mark J. Rozell and Mitchell Sollenberger conclude that Oversight has no choice but to pursue contempt charges as long as Holder continues to defy Congress:

But newly leaked information about the DOJ’s actions leaves no doubt that the committee has a duty now to aggressively pursue any and all information germane to its investigation. Six wiretap applications for the Fast and Furious program signed off by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco  provide clear evidence that this scandal reaches the top level of the DOJ. Dismissing the investigation as mere partisan politics simply is not credible given what we now know.

The undisputed fact is that there are two dead federal agents and potentially hundreds killed in Mexico because top DOJ officials approved the sale of thousands of weapons and never determined how such dangerous firearms would be tracked.

Furthermore, DOJ has been sitting on a request for specific information about Fast and Furious since October. To be sure, it has produced a series of Friday night document dumps that allow the attorney general to testify that he and the department are really cooperating with this investigation.

But everyone on the committee knows it is the oldest trick in the book to release reams of materials while holding back those that are most directly germane to answering its questions. And one cannot help but wonder what information is in the more than 130,000 documents relating to Fast and Furious that Holder recently admitted that the Justice Department has not disclosed. …

Obama’s Justice Department and other federal law enforcement agencies mismanaged Operation Fast and Furious at every step of the way, from implementation to investigation. Regardless of whether the scandal resulted from willful deceit or simple incompetence on the part of top DOJ officials, Holder must now cooperate. Otherwise, a contempt resolution is necessary.

Indeed — even if it’s politically inconvenient.  Congress has to defend its prerogative for oversight of executive-branch agencies, especially those dealing with law enforcement.  That’s not an election-year consideration, but painfully necessary balance-of-power hygiene.

Update: John Boehner forcefully denied that House Republican leadership was less than fully on board with Issa’s efforts:

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told TheDC, though, that it was inaccurate for Politico to report that.

“There are no talks between the Speakers’ office and the Department of Justice aimed at resolving this – and any such discussions would be handled by Chairman Issa and his staff,” Steel said in an email.

“There is no daylight between the House Republican leadership and the Oversight Committee on this issue,” wrote Steel. “We are all committed to holding the Department of Justice accountable.”

We’ll see soon enough.  If Oversight votes to send contempt charges to the full House, Boehner will have to schedule the vote — and the timing of that effort will be revealing.


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I see that a lot of people here are talking about Mexican Law, well Mexican Law isn’t any better then the Department of Injustice’s law. Everything is for sale in Mexico too, and that includes justice. Holder needs to be held in contempt along with all those in the DOJ that will not tell the truth. This is a nation of laws not a nation of political correctness or presidential executive orders. If it’s perjury for a baseball player to lie the congress, why isn’t it when Holder does it?

savage24 on June 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Acting chairman Al Franken presently giving Holder a tongue bath.

a capella on June 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

“The undisputed fact is that there are two dead federal agents and potentially hundreds killed in Mexico because top DOJ officials approved the sale of thousands of weapons and never determined how such dangerous firearms would be tracked.”

A Spanish-language advertising campaign is going to target Romney with what amounts to “He doesn’t care if you don’t have a job”. How about a campaign targeting Obama with “He doesn’t care if you’re dead”?

A lot of folks south in the border are watching this pretty closely. If the GOP doesn’t continue their full-court press, it won’t look good.

drwilliams on June 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM

including producing 7,600 pages of documents and including testifying at hours and hours on congressional hearings.

 
It must be a weird feeling to be 50+ years old and just now get a hint of what “job” and “expectations” mean.

rogerb on June 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Holder should be prosecuted! Pity Boehner doesn’t have any balls to help move this forward.

jqc1970 on June 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

The highest cop is a thug, but this is how he sees himself:

(CNSNews.com) – Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he has “stuck by my guns” during his time in office.

“I’ve enjoyed my time as attorney general,” he told the panel. “It’s been a tough job. It is one that takes a lot out of you. Some raised concerns as to whether I was tough enough for this job. I think that people will hopefully see that I’ve done this job in a way that is consistent with our values.”

He was responding to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) who asked Holder if he would consider serving a second term as attorney general if Obama is reelected.

“I stuck by my guns,” Holder continued. “I’ve been criticized a lot for the positions that I’ve taken. I’ve lost some. I’ve won more than I’ve lost. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done. More important, I’m proud of the 116,000 people in this United States Department of Justice. This has been the highlight of my career to have been the attorney general of the United States, to work with you all and to serve this president. What my future holds, frankly, I’m just not sure.”

Schadenfreude on June 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Acting chairman Al Franken presently giving Holder a tongue bath.

a capella on June 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Senator Blumenthal now taking over when Franken left off, trying his best to out blow Franken…

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

As I said, there is NO SUCH THING as “international law” so please stop using that term.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

I’m sorry you keep saying that, but it simply isn’t true.

“International law” is, by definition, simply agreed-upon rules of procedure (which is all law is) between nations. The Constitution codifies such treaties into which the U.S. has entered as the Supreme Law of the land, which certainly “embodies” them and doesn’t make them any less “international.” No one said that international law governs the world, only the parties which subscribe to the agreements. But claiming that contracts which have the binding force of law (and in the Constitution comprise the Supreme Law of the Land) are not “law” is a distinction without a difference.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I’ve heard on newscasts today that Holdover is trying to schedule meetings with Issa, Boehner, the committee, etc.–why? Bargaining for mercy? The verdict is in on this: stonewalling, obstruction, whitewash, fraud, cover-up. Don’t need no more stinkin’ meetings. Quit pussyfooting around–just produce the blankin’ documents, shut up and go away.

stukinIL4now on June 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Mexico can certainly try but the idea that America would extradite government officials to other countries for prosecutions is beyond ridiculous. We have more than enough reasons to prosecute the whole bunch, here, and that’s where it should happen.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Not entirely ridiculous (Mexico and Latin America have extradited any number of their “shadow government” drug lords to this country) but otherwise I agree completely. I’m sure that, with all our reasons, we’ll be prosecuting the whole bunch here at any time. Mexico should just shut up about its 400+ dead. Complaining loudly about them won’t add to Congressional resolve in any way.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I don’t know why the Mexican-American community isn’t raising holy hell about F&F.

sandspur on June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

You seem unusually attached to th term “international law”, even as you ‘explain’ that it’s just a contract, or “agreed-upon rules of procedure” (and I’m sure you call all the contracts you sign “law” – “my rent law states …”, “I signed a law with Joe about the sale of my furniture” …). Ask yourself why you feel the need to call these things “international law” (when they are clearly NOT law – they are treaties, which is why there is that word)? I know why. Most people reading this know why. I’m pretty sure you know why, too.

There is no such thing as “international law”. There are treaties that we sign with specific other entities which we may choose to enforce but certainly don’t have to if the other sides are not enforcing it on their ends. How is this determination made – that others are abiding by these treaties that you think we are blindly bound to no matter what – as “law”?

Just call them “treaties”, which you admit they are. Why is that such a problem?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

sandspur on June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

its a wonder….

well if they are watching the espanol channels, who are obama supporters I doubt they are reporting it…

cmsinaz on June 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Holder should be prosecuted! Pity Boehner doesn’t have any balls to help move this forward.

jqc1970 on June 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Faint hope, but hope that Issa et. al. are making the case for future prosecution, after Obama leaves office when he can no longer pardon anyone. The strategy, if such it is, may fail anyway, since Obama can pardon anyone at any time, unless it’s an impeachment (which is probably what they have in mind for Holder.) SCOTUS Ex parte Garland 71 U.S. 333:

9. The power of pardon conferred by the Constitution upon the President is unlimited except in cases of impeachment. It extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment. The power is not subject to legislative control.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee… “people will hopefully see that I’ve done this job in a way that is consistent with our values.”
 
Schadenfreude on June 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

 
We have, sir, and I believe that’s why contempt charges are being discussed.

rogerb on June 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner. They don’t want to offer any new distractions to the Obama campaign or House Democrats from the sagging economy and the sorry state of job creation.

So when the town’s only general store is on fire, is it a distraction to notice that the court house is on fire too?

novaculus on June 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Mexico should just shut up about its 400+ dead.
de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Are you smoking crack? Seriously? Mexico may not be America’s best friend, but what Attorney General Erick Holder did wasn’t just criminal, it literally bordered on an act of war. Mexico is still, like it or not a sovereign nation with a responsibility to it’s own citizens. That Mexico isn’t publicly demanding Erick Holder’s head on a pike is amazing.

If any another nation on the face of the earth had done to America what Attorney General Erick Holder did to Mexico the American people would not shut up about it, but would be screaming bloody murder.

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The strategy, if such it is, may fail anyway, since Obama can pardon anyone at any time, unless it’s an impeachment (which is probably what they have in mind for Holder.)

Impeachment extends no further than removal from office (and possibly banning from ever holding federal office again, if included). Criminal charges are not part of impeachment, so impeachment is a big nothing-burger in the big scale.

SCOTUS Ex parte Garland 71 U.S. 333:

9. The power of pardon conferred by the Constitution upon the President is unlimited except in cases of impeachment. It extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment. The power is not subject to legislative control.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I would just clarify this (I don’t know why that decision is written so poorly) the President can only pardon for FEDERAL crimes, not State crimes.

Art II, Sec 2 (excerpt):

and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Just call them “treaties”, which you admit they are. Why is that such a problem?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I’ll happily amend my original statement which started all of this to: “in accordance with international treaties.” I have no problem calling them “treaties” if you’ll grant that the Constitution calls them “law” as cited (Article VI) and that those that aren’t domestic are international.

By the way, how is the law that is really a “treaty” that is really a “contract” any different from the mutual contract entered into by the consent of the governed? We have as much right to abolish that as we do a treaty to which all parties are not in compliance:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I’m sure you don’t believe that just because the Constitution is a contract (or compact as they like to call it), it isn’t also “law.”

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Sen. John Cornyn isn’t holding back on Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

antipc on June 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

If any another nation on the face of the earth had done to America what Attorney General Erick Holder did to Mexico the American people would not shut up about it, but would be screaming bloody murder.

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Mexico has been doing much, much worse to America. We have had more deaths, rapes, thefts and costs to our citizenry (orders of magnitude more) due to the Mexican government’s intentional policy of helping anyone and everyone breach American borders and get into our nation illegally. Then, after they’re here, Mexico goes further to provide bogus documentation through their consulates, here, to them and sues OUR STATES for enforcing OUR LAWS.

So, you think we should have jailed the Mexican President when he was here bad-mouthing America in our own Congress? That’s even further than I went, but I’d be with you on that.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Are you smoking crack? Seriously?

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

You had to have followed the thread from 10:31 AM. I don’t use sarc tags.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

“Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner.” – - – Well, if this is true, then Boehner is an idiot.

Let’s face it, Holder is equally as hated as obama – every single person who opposes obama also wants Holder removed from power – ANYTHING which reminds voters that both obama and Holder are criminals is a good thing. It is time for Boehner to man-up and do what is right for America – You know, DO HIS JOB, irregardless of the upcoming election.

Pork-Chop on June 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Clarifications noted and agreed. Impeachment is Congress’ only recourse to bring an official before the bar (or, actually, the U.S. Senate, which we can all agree as currently constituted would not vote to convict)– or else a special prosecutor.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I’ll happily amend my original statement which started all of this to: “in accordance with international treaties.” I have no problem calling them “treaties” if you’ll grant that the Constitution calls them “law” as cited (Article VI) and that those that aren’t domestic are international.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

The Constitution talks about nothing but OUR law … and “treaties”.

Art III, Sec 2 (relevant excerpt):

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;

A clear distinction is made, here.

Art VI (relevant excerpt):

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;

Here the Constitution just says that these treaties are incorporated as OUR LAW, not that they exist as any international law. This is, clearly, dependent on others abiding by these treaties (as we all know that the Founders were well aware of what is done when treaties are broken by others and how our obligations with respect to those then change).

Law is not a contract between individual entities (in the normal usage). It is a disembodied set of rules enforced by an impartial third party for which there is no concept of “he broke the law so I can break it, too”. We have a notion of Equal Protection to formalize the natural concept of the Rule of Law being impartial in its application and enforcement and not dependent on any co-signatory violating it.

When most people speak of law, they implicitly understand that there is a legislature making these laws, an executive enforcing these laws and a judiciary settling disputes about these laws. Treaties and contracts are entirely different. You can say that they fall under certain definitions of “law” but certainly not what is generally meant in almost all instances of people using the word “law”. This is why people don’t call personal contracts “signing new laws”.

The Constitution is clearly a contract that puts the government itself on a side which makes it distinct from normal law. That’s why it is generally called “the Supreme Law of the Land” to distinguish it, as it should be. If the Constitution is violated by the government, then it, too, no longer binds the other sides to it …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Jay Carney insisted that Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with Oversight

OK, what does not cooperating look like?

arnold ziffel on June 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

de rigueur,

I enjoyed the discussion. I hope I wasn’t too strident in my comments (which I often am, but didn’t intend in this case). You just happened onto an issue that really gets to me, which is the term “international law”. It’s a big, big thing with me. Acceptance of the term, itself, does serious damage and I try to stamp the term out every time I see it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

he asked the inspector general to investigate the matter

Of course, in this administration inspector generals get called senile and get fired if they do their jobs.

burt on June 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Mexico has been doing much, much worse to America.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Stop the BS right here and right now. Two wrong never ever make a right. Whatever Mexico may or may not be guilty of does not excuse what Attorney General Erick Holder’s Department of Justice did. Your moral equivocating is disgusting and intellectually dishonest.

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The sad part of this is that it probably IS a case of ‘political theater’ to the moral/ethical/-deficient politicians in Washington. this standoff is just another demonstration by self-important politicians of how so out of touch and far removed Washington /they are from the real world.

If any CITIZEN, for example, had committed 2 blatant FELONY violations before Congress we would already be in JAIL by now. There wouldn’t be a span of time during which politicians would be allowed to debate and eventually choose sides on what to do, and no citizen would be allowed to stonewall & commit crimes the way Holder has been allowed to do. We CERTSINLY would NOT be allowed to tell the Congressional Committee that we don’t need a Special Investigator to look into our actions becuase WE are investigating our potential crimes ourselves!

Charging Holder with a crime is WAY overdue. He has committed 2 FELONY counts of Perjury, has impeded an investigation, has engaged in a proven cover up, and still refuses to comply with a Congressional Committee subpoena. The fact that Americans are sitting back and allowing Holder to do this, allowing our politicians to move so slowly and so ridiculously in the pursuit of Justice is possbly the MOST DISTURBING. I think part of it is because we are s used to getting $crewed by politicians and them doing whatever they want that we citizens no longer have the slightest clue how to do anything about it to STOP oncea and for all this criminal / UN-acceptable behavior – we don’t know how to end the madness & take our country back.

Holder, meanwhile, has violated the law by dropping charges on the New Black Panthers for armed voter intimidation, has protected them by refusing to charge them with FELONIES for crossing state lines to offer a BOUNTY on an American citizen – ‘dead or alive’; he has carried out his boss’ Socialist agenda by suing Boeing to prevent jobs from coming to SC (in THIS economy, to help his Union buddies), has sued states to protect Illegal Immigration/Immigrants, has sued states to prevent attempts to eliminate voter fraud; is protecting a White House engaged in crimes of releasing classified information, & has not only overseen the program to give guns to Mexican Drug Cartells but has also reportedly helped launder their money. this has GOT to be THE most CRIMINAL, ANTI-American/Law/Constitution Attorney General in U.S. History….and it is WAY past time, & common sense, that Holder be charged with multiple counts of Felnious Perjury – as any of us would be – and for him to be stripped of his job/title as chief U.S. Law Enforcer/Protector.

easyt65 on June 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

We shouldn’t dismiss Carney’s charge out of hand. Obama has been running for president continuously since he became a US senator. With 5 1/2 years of election year theatrics experience, this group is well versed in election year theatrics. So, they know that anything they aren’t doing is is something to call the the other guy.

burt on June 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

“Mexico has been doing much, much worse to America.”
– Yeah, much of it perpetrated with Guns received from the Obama admiistration.

‘Fast & furious’, much like almost all of Obama’s policies, was ill-conceived, horrible executed, & failed miserably in the end. How much sense does this make:
- The idea was to send guns to Mexico, to track them, see how they were used in crimes.
— Without the U.S. sending these guns to Mexico, THERE ARE NO CRIMES COMMITTED USING THESE GUNS…because they would still be back in the U.S.!
— The tracking devices on these guns, the ones that had such devices, were extremely short ranged and had a battery life of no more than 4 hours! Good luck tracking those weapons once they left the U.s.!
— There was no ‘inside man’ who could track the delivery & dispersal of the weapons inside Mexico. Again, good luck keeping track of those weapons.

Seriously, what MORON came up with this plan? Was it conceived over a bottle of tequilla? Such questions make more appealing the ‘conspiracy theory’ that Obama/Holder’s agenda was to let the guns walk, violence/the body count increase, all to make a case against guns & provide an opportunity to go after America’s right to bear arms. It is just the stupid type of idea, based on his 4 year resume as President, he would consider a ‘good idea’. Like everything else he has done, this is blowing up in his face.

And the fact that Obama is taking part in this cover-up, stone-walling, and defending such a corrupt/inept Attorney General is even more evidence that Obama is a worthless, immoral, unethical, lying POS who should not only be voted out of office buth should potentially face criminal charges for obstruction of Justice as well someday….which I know will never happen…sadly.

easyt65 on June 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Boehner is always doing the Tinkerbell dance in the background. I don’t believe his denials for a minute.

Why is it that Boehner and his staff always think John is the smartest guy in the room when he is actually a no-guts, mealy-mouthed coward? Furthermore, does he believe we are all stupid enough not to figure out what a weakling he is?

Time was that courage used to guide these matters. Now it’s a man Speaker in clown-shoes doing math on his political calculator.

Marcus Traianus on June 12, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Do House Republicans really want a high-profile showdown for the sake of election-year politicking — or do they just want the documents?

no, we want accountability and Mr. Holder is responsible for all those deaths involving F&F so the axe should fall on him

sadsushi on June 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Why? Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner. They don’t want to offer any new distractions to the Obama campaign or House Democrats from the sagging economy and the sorry state of job creation.

This is part of the problem and I can see their thinking on it somewhat as some people cannot do it, but in general the public is able to hold more than one thought in their heads.

Why not hammer him from all sides and let people decide which one is the most important?

F&F is a legitimate issue and the Terry family and all the unnamed dead do deserve it being more than a political football.

kim roy on June 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM

de rigueur,

I enjoyed the discussion. I hope I wasn’t too strident in my comments (which I often am, but didn’t intend in this case). You just happened onto an issue that really gets to me, which is the term “international law”. It’s a big, big thing with me. Acceptance of the term, itself, does serious damage and I try to stamp the term out every time I see it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

As did I.

I recognized your sensitivity to the term and respect that. I don’t subscribe to the idea of over-arching, meta-national “international law,” either. However, I do believe that, as the phrase is firmly ensconced in diplomatic, legal and popular parlance despite your best efforts to stamp it out, it might be used “legitimately” if properly defined, as I attempted to do. I do appreciate your finer distinctions, per 1:22 PM. It is perhaps a term too ambiguous (and too dangerous to our national sovereignty) to be granted any quarter at all, but you’re fighting a tide that’s been rising since at least de Vattel. Anyway, I always enjoy learning from HA commenters.

de rigueur on June 12, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner. They don’t want to offer any new distractions to the Obama campaign or House Democrats from the sagging economy and the sorry state of job creation.

.
I have worried for a long time this attitude would prevail but I no longer believe it to be the case.

Issa has a mole in the DoJ. He already has some of the documents Holder is refusing to turn over. Given Issa’s track record, I believe his statement he has 31 Democrats who are willing to support a Contempt of Congress vote. This is no longer a loss position for Republicans.

One possible path:
Attorney General Holder is found in Contempt of Congree on a bipartisan basis. This is impossible for the LSM to ignore. Holder will not resign. Obama will not fire him. The mole givesw Issa more information to burn Holder with in front of the world.

Second possible path:
Attorney General Holder is found in Contempt of Congree on a straight party line vote. The Obama administration’s options are to claim Executive privilege which leads to the SCOTUS decision against Nixon and the LSM having to discuss comparison with Nixon. Or to play the Race card, which is trumped the Second amendment and Constitutional powers cards the Republicans can play in return.

Overall, it adds to the narrative of this being the Most Corrupt Administration Ever.

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Issa has a mole in the DoJ. He already has some of the documents Holder is refusing to turn over. Given Issa’s track record, I believe his statement he has 31 Democrats who are willing to support a Contempt of Congress vote. This is no longer a loss position for Republicans.

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

And you can pretty much bet that that mole is the real reason behind these Whitehouse leak investigation. not to find out who leaked secrets from the Whitehouse, they know damned well who that was, but to open a “we just followed the trail of the investigation” lead into who leaded the damning e-mails Issa recently quoted to.

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Whaoh there. I am not sure I understand how Obama’s attorney general being an accessory to the murders of hundreds of innocent Mexicans and Americans in border states is a loser in the general election. Isn’t the GOP having trouble with the Hispanic vote? I know that the economy is issue número uno, but doesnt the GOP know how to multitask?

bitsy on June 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

And you can pretty much bet that that mole is the real reason behind these Whitehouse leak investigation. not to find out who leaked secrets from the Whitehouse, they know damned well who that was, but to open a “we just followed the trail of the investigation” lead into who leaded the damning e-mails Issa recently quoted to.

SWalker on June 12, 2012 at 2:27 PM

.
Agreed, which is why I would suspect Issa’s staff is discussing a grant of immunity from prosecution with the mole.

What would the Obama administration be able to do?

Especially if the mole has documents which show the involvement of everyone up to the President discussing how to use the “guns sold in America causing deaths in Mexico” story line as part of an “under the radar” effort to restrain the Second Amendment rights of Americans?

Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful summer?

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful summer?

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 2:40 PM


Extra Thought Added

Curiously enough, the Obama campaigns problem of “with friends like these who needs enemies” started about the time Issa’s staff shared the DoJ mole’s information with the ranking Democratic member’s staff.

Which makes an interesting thought experiment with regard to Bill Clinton and others, eh?

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Acting chairman Al Franken presently giving Holder a tongue bath.

a capella on June 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I can usually seperate the personal from the political, but I truly despise Franken! I find him a vile, repulsive,vicious, un-talented hack with the 3rd rate intellect!

I have a recurring political day dream that I someday come face to face with Franken and I can refer to him as DICKFACE with the cameras rolling!

Teacher in Tejas on June 12, 2012 at 2:51 PM

They don’t want to offer any new distractions to the Obama campaign or House Democrats from the sagging economy and the sorry state of job creation.

No. This is a win for the GOP if they continue forward.

Yes, the economy is sagging and jobs are a “bread and butter” issue, but the blantant dishonesty and illegality of DOJ here screams for Congress to hold them accountable. If the Repubs do not do all they can, then we will all know there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the Repubs and the Demos – crooks all.

IrishEyes on June 12, 2012 at 3:33 PM

…Democrats are not likely to run on their defense of Eric Holder in any case this November…

Agreed. But, if contempt charges are pursued, Dems will gladly bring back the phrase “high tech lynching” to rally the lib netroots/base.

LaserBeam on June 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Agreed. But, if contempt charges are pursued, Dems will gladly bring back the phrase “high tech lynching” to rally the lib netroots/base.

LaserBeam on June 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM


Excellent, puhleeze let them be that stupid …

The Race card is going to get played over and over; more and more as things go worse for the Obama campaign. There is no way to avoid it happening – so it is far better to pick the circumstances WHEN the race card will be thrown down.

Democrats who want to think they can skate away “Fast and Furious” had better be representing 50%+ African American constituents.

If they represent 25% African American constituents with any other mix of diversity, they Race card does not get them the votes they need for re-election. The Race card in those districts gets trumped by the Second Amendment card.

If the resolution passes the House with ONLY Republican votes – the ONLY Democrats who would not face the loss of their seats would be those from ultra-liberal and 50%+ African American districts and those two overlap. So much for Democrats taking back the House.

IF the Oversight Committee finds Holder in contempt, I think the Democratic leadership will tell Obama, “If you don’t fire/resign him, we ARE going to vote to hold him in contempt.”

The SCOAMF will have a classic lose/lose situation – and he WILL NOT fire Holder.

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Let me be clear #snickers#, I believe Holder is guilty of contempt.

My post’s point was on the political consequences of the vote to issue contempt charges.

Why create a “martyr” for a cause that is already failing?

Plus, if #when# Romney wins, there is no legal barrier to pursuing a full-on investigation at DOJ into F & F… including criminal charges.

If Obama wins #bites own tongue#, the House can still go forward with a contempt charge.

LaserBeam on June 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Let me be clear #snickers#, I believe Holder is guilty of contempt.

My post’s point was on the political consequences of the vote to issue contempt charges.

Why create a “martyr” for a cause that is already failing?

I can’t remember if you are part of the “Why aren’t we hitting Obama harder?” camp. From your remarks, you seem to prefer the McCain style of campaigning.

Eric Holder has been playing the Martyr card since things started going BOOM with the Black Panthers whitewash. Politically, it has not helped he or Obama one little bit to date. Maybe the voters have gotten tired of it?

Plus, if #when# Romney wins, there is no legal barrier to pursuing a full-on investigation at DOJ into F & F… including criminal charges.

If Obama wins #bites own tongue#, the House can still go forward with a contempt charge.

LaserBeam on June 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Just to refresh your memory … there is a long period of time between “if #when# Romney wins” and Romney being inaugurated. The SCOAMF has alllll of that time to issue a sweeping Presidential pardon to Eric Holder and all the other criminals working in his administration.

Going forward with contempt charges in that case, makes the Martyr card super effective.

“If Obama wins #bites own tongue#” then all he11 will be out for noon with respet to the REAL agenda Obama will pursue if he is re-elected. The House going forward with a contempt charge at that point … will be a mouse fart in a hurricane.

Let’s leave the McCain campaign approach of “give up first, cast recriminations later” in the past where it belongs.

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Boehner and GOP leadership see this as a loser for the general election, not a winner.

Please, please, please let this be wrong. If the citizens of the US don’t care anymore about rampant abuse of power and corruption in the political leadership of the nation, then the republic is finished.

SubmarineDoc on June 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I don’t know why the Mexican-American community isn’t raising holy hell about F&F.

sandspur on June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Racial/ethnic “leaders” usually are in bed with the Democrats, because the Dems do a better job distributing the spoils of ethnic separatism (AA quotas and such).

The fact that the actions of the DOJ caused the deaths of 200-400 Mexican nationals may be enough of an issue, however, that we may be able to prove to hispanic citizens that their “leaders” do not represent the interests of the people that they purport to represent (because of their silence on this issue).

Teddy Rosevelt once said that there was no room in America for a hyphenated American. I happen to agree – you are either American or you are not. Ethnic divisions create nothng but corruption, hate and evil. The fact that the leaders of the Mexican-American community have kept this issue covered up may be enough to start peeling Mexican-American citizens away from under the control of their “leaders” and integrating them more fully into American society.

SubmarineDoc on June 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Burn it down.

McNinja on June 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM

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