Attorney General Eric Holder in a recent address to the National Action Network convention flatly charged that a House committee, read: the GOP has once more subjected him to an "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity." Holder punctuated his protest over the abuse with the rhetorical, "what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?' He appropriately added: What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"
Holder got it absolutely right-again about President Obama and especially himself. Holder has been the GOP's favorite punching bag even before he set foot in his Justice Department office six years ago. The attacks have served two snide, cynical political purposes. He's a convenient surrogate to hammer President Obama by guilt by association with an allegedly bad, horribly tainted, and race card playing attorney general. And he's black, so this makes the charge that Holder engages in blatant racial and left leaning political partisanship seemingly seen more plausible.
Holder has repeatedly called out his GOP inquisitors in Congress on this point and each time he has this send the inquisitors screaming into greater fits of paroxysm. Holder's latest alleged sins that have ignited the manic rage against him is his widely and much welcomed announcement that he'd try to bring some semblance of fairness to a badly warped, and deeply flawed criminal justice system that locks up thousands of mostly black and Hispanic small time drug offenders for years, even decades, and wastes lives and squanders valuable resources that could be used for treatment, education and retraining. He also continues to enforce voting rights laws, and to back state laws that uphold same sex marriage.
His other more recent alleged sin is that he again refuses the outrageously political intimidation ploy of the GOP committee members to turn over in any every document on any and every issue that suits their fancy. In an even more bizarre twist to this tired ploy is that he's now ripped for turning over thousands of legal documents required by law to attorneys for defendants charged with terrorist acts or plotting.
The war against Holder began during his Senate confirmation hearing in 2009. He was grilled brutally over his role as Deputy Attorney General in Bill Clinton's administration in a handful of controversial Clinton decisions. Though he was overwhelmingly confirmed as Attorney General, the flack he took was only the start. The GOP viewed him as a pawn in their relentless attack plan on Obama. If they could discredit, taint, and tarnish Holder for even the most picayune act, it would be another slap at Obama.
In that respect, the overblown and manufactured scandals that supposedly rack the Obama Administration have been godsends for the GOP. It couldn't wait to shove Holder back into the same congressional hot seat, as the fall guy for the administration's alleged misconduct. The pattern has been agonizingly familiar. Each time, the GOP continues with its saber-rattling of Holder with talk of contempt convictions, lawsuits against him, demands for his firing, or resignation, a perjury investigation, and even threats to start impeachment proceedings against him. It's media-catchy and sensational enough to try and taint Holder in the public and media eye. Typing Holder as the fount of secrecy, manipulation and wrongdoing in the Obama Administration will be played and replayed in the run up to the 2014 elections. The aim will be to paint Holder as an incompetent, conniving political hack who supposedly typifies the poor and untrustworthy judgment of Obama in picking his political appointees.
Holder has tried to stay out front of the GOP attack dogs by spending hours in testimony before the GOP-controlled House panels. As in past investigations, Holder's promise to take corrective measures to insure transparency and to fully cooperate with the House probes has meant nothing.
The GOP as always has tried to have it both ways with Holder. It loudly disavows any talk that Holder is being persecuted because he's black and just as loudly insists that he's a target because of his alleged in your face politicization of the Justice Department. That's just enough of a plausible cover to mask the real reason for the attacks and to fuel the usual spate of angry op-ed pieces and editorials calling Holder on the carpet or for his resignation.
The GOP's dogged vow to hamstring Obama with the odor of scandal and to further straightjacket his presidency insures that Holder will continue to serve as a red herring to toss more mud on Obama. The race card, as always, is the GOP favorite card to play to do everything possible to make sure that it sticks.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.