Eric Holder: 'When they go low, we kick them' (Update: Sen. Gardner responds)

I guess a memo went out. How else to explain that leading figures in the Democratic Party are embracing incivility this week? A clip of Eric Holder is circulating today in which he endorses Democrats taking the low road.

“It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are,” Holder said. “Michelle [Obama] says ‘when they go low, we go high.’ No. When they go low we kick them,” he said.

The crowd responded with laughter and applause. “That’s what this new Democratic Party is about,” Holder added.

He may be right about that.

Holder also added that Democrats had to win to prevent people “less imbued” with good values from running the country. “We’re in this to win. And the reality is if we don’t win, people who are less committed, less idealistic, less imbued with the values that make this nation really great will run this country,” he said.

So to sum this message up: Democrats good, GOP bad. Win by any means necessary. That’s remarkably similar to what Hillary Clinton said, in an interview with CNN which aired yesterday. “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,” she said. She added that civility could only return if Democrats win the election next month.

I find it hard to believe this remarkably consistent messaging is a coincidence. It seems like the sort of thing some Democrats discussed privately as a midterm messaging strategy. But whatever the case, the bottom line is that high profile members of the party are now openly ditching Michelle Obama’s best-known line suggesting Democrats take the high road and embracing the low road. As I pointed out yesterday, Democrats are delusional if they think they ever abandoned the low road. They did not.

But getting back to this current moment in politics, I doubt it has escaped the notice of either Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder that grassroots Democrats are now embracing a new confrontational approach to their opponents. As Rep. Maxine Waters said, if you see Trump officials in a restaurant or a gas station, “you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” This is a blunt, anti-civility message and some on the left have denounced it. But it appears party leaders are now giving their activists approval to go all in with only a month left before the election.

Of course, I think we all know what will happen the moment someone does this to Hillary or Eric Holder. Suddenly they’ll be shocked and appalled and claim they never had this in mind. They were only speaking metaphorically, etc., etc. Don’t believe it for a minute. They see what is happening out there. They know what kind of behavior they are encouraging. Here’s the clip of Holder already cued up:

Update: Sen. Cory Gardner weighs in offering another example of left-wing incivility.

Update: I missed this when I scanned through the clip the first time. Six minutes after his “kick” remark (about 16:50 in the clip above) Holder said, “When I say we kick them, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal, but we’ve got to be tough…”

People on the left are pointing to this as evidence that Holder wasn’t endorsing violence or illegal behavior. Fair enough but if you read the post above you may have noticed I never said or even suggested he was recommending violence. I said his remarks were very similar to what Hillary said yesterday about civility and to what Maxine Waters has previously advocated.

Bottom line: By definition, taking the low road is going to involve things that someone else thinks are “inappropriate,” Michelle Obama for one. You can’t counsel people to abandon the high road and then claim you don’t want them to do anything anyone would object to. That’s just not the nature of the low road and I think Holder knows that.