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No Holds BarredDarrell Issa's committee has disgraced itself in its treatment of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

As events have unfolded in the Eric Holder contempt saga, there's one thing that's become painfully obvious:   Clarence Thomas never really had a clue as to what it's like being the target of a "high-tech lynching."

As President Barack Obama , Van Jones , Shirley Sherrod , Valerie Jarrett , or Sonya Sotomayor might privately attest, there's been a long and dreadful hunting expedition undertaken by a seething, boisterous claque of hate-filled anti-Obama ideologues who are simply unwilling to accept the outcome of the 2008 Presidential election.   And like the President and the rest of them, Holder has been among these anti-Obama partisans' designated prey.  

But the public spotlight that's been cast upon the harsh going-over the Attorney General has received from Darrell Issa and company presents a perhaps deeper, more revealing indication of the bitterness which lurks within the contempt some hold for this President.

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It's become Issa's turn to inculcate life into one of the many outlandish wolf tickets sold by Obama's GOP opponents; that of the need for " hundreds of hearings " into the goings on within the administration.   Judging by his treatment of Holder, Issa seems to pursue his perceived mandate based on an underlying principle: for this particular President, there are no rights or privileges -- including executive privilege -- in which they are bound to respect.  

For those to whom Issa pandering is directed -- Tea Party congressional Republicans and their constituents -- deleting the legitimacy of this presidency from the historical record is the ultimate goal to be pursued one small step at a time. Indeed it's a breathtaking example of political chutzpah.   After all, it comes from a party that offers fawning tributes to the concept of democracy and American "exceptionalism" even though its last presidency was secured -- at least initially -- via a selection process that any democracy-lover would view as perverted; by judicial fiat .

But another part of this disdain stems from their unyielding certainty that the "socialist," Constitution-loathing Obama Administration is hell-bent on stripping away their rights, including perhaps their most sacred, the right to own guns.

And luckily, for the scandal-chasing Issa, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman (and no stranger himself to allegations of dishonor ) it is a conveniently-complexioned Holder, Obama's law enforcement head honcho, along with those gat-snatching varmints at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms -- a traditional target of hatred by the three-cornered-hat-wearing crowd -- who are the biggest threat to their 2nd amendment rights.   And the weapon Issa and others including Texas Sen. John Cornyn have crafted to beat back this threat: "Fast and Furious."   What a monumental stroke of luck they must have thought.   An opportunity to knock off two birds -- a hated attorney general, and the threat to the 2nd Amendment -- in one fell swoop.   And, with the added bonus of Obama becoming part of the collateral damage.

Too bad that at this point the whole thing seems not only doomed to fail, but may ultimately backfire on them.   It may result in the most devastating of unintended consequences to their 2nd amendment rights by in essence transforming what they had to have known is a cockamamie conspiracy theory about a sinister government plot to curtail gun rights, into a moment of clarity about the need for even stronger gun control laws.  

As is typical, particularly in their political jousts with President Obama, the Republicans are their own worst enemies. And the Holder probe is no different.   The kooky clumsiness and lack of finesse which characterizes most GOP political hatchet jobs are clearly apparent. Amid the transparent stupidity that permeates the convenient post-George W. Bush starting point for Issa's Fast and Furious probe lies the bat-sh*t absurdity of what the investigators allege: direct Justice Department complicity in the murder of a federal agent.   Even battier is what they've concluded to be Obama's hidden agenda: to establish a climate conducive to public approval of stricter gun control laws; an agenda that Issa's actions are ostensibly designed to thwart.  

However, that narrative has been suddenly blown apart by a near-7000-word bunker-buster coming in the form of Katherine Eban's spectacular investigative report in Fortune magazine.   It exposed Issa's Fast and Furious narrative as little more than voodoo histrionics foolishly placed into the public spotlight by the chairman.   Indeed widespread knowledge of what Eban uncovered during her six-month investigation could well provoke a backlash against lenient gun control laws that could seriously undermine the ambitions of those who would settle for nothing less than completely unregulated access to guns of any kind.

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For openers, the article explains how our judicial system actually serves as a powerful enabler to those American citizens intent on providing arms to Mexican drug gangs.   It also details and how U.S. laws actually prohibit the prosecution of Americans who function as proxy weapons purchasers for these gangs who -- due to a ban on gun sales in Mexico -- are forced to acquire their weaponry here and elsewhere.

Thus, rather than spark outrage against Holder and, obviously by proxy, President Obama, knowledge of the true facts underlying Issa's Fast and Furious probe could cause Americans -- particularly those already spooked by the presence of millions of poverty-stricken Mexicans at its borders -- to become more willing to accept tougher gun control laws if only as a means of keeping these guns out of the hands of their neighbors to the south.

So, as it now stands, Holder has been held in contempt, which is unprecedented among U. S. Attorney Generals.   But recall that the Republicans went through a similar witch hunt that ended with the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton . But other than the right to brag about Clinton being the first President impeached since Andrew Jackson, what was gained?   What Clinton got out of it was a sharp increase in his approval ratings.   Meanwhile, the 1998 mid-terms resulted in a gain of gain five House seats and no net loss in the Senate, an achievement described as "the best showing for an incumbent President's party since 1934."   And by the way, within a year of the 98 mid-terms, Newt Gingrich resigned.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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