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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/23/09

Why they Fear Eric Holder (and President Obama)

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   14 comments
Message Dennis Greenia
The Republican Party and the conservative movement are terrified by Eric Holder and stopping Holder has become a matter of self-preservation for the Party of Failure. They are afraid that an active, engaged and independent DOJ will actually investigate political corruption, torture and the other crimes of their recent years in power. If ongoing investigations (like the Abramoff scandal) are freed from political restraints, many current and former elected Republicans, their staffers, funders and lobbyists could find themselves under indictment.

Holder will be an excellent Attorney General and so, they fear him. He needs our support and we need to push back on this latest Republican effort to obstruct justice.

Yesterday at 1:22 pm EST, President Barack Obama (yes, I do love typing that) issued an Executive Order on Presidential Records.

Within minutes, the GOP announced they would block Holder’s confirmation for at least a week.

There is a link.

To the jump...

The Attorney General of the United States is appointed by the President. He or she serves at the pleasure of the President, but they are not supposed to be beholden to the President. They are supposed to be independent. The Attorney General is the People’s Lawyer and the guardian of the rule of law. It is a position with a sacred trust, and the Attorney General must have a deep commitment to the law, the people and the Constitution.

For the last eight years this sacred trust has been perverted. Bush and Cheney led the way. Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey each helped to pervert the rule of law and debase the Department of Justice. Throughout the Bush years, the DOJ and our laws became a tool the Right would use in their effort to establish one-Party rule in the United States. It was a bold and almost successful coup d’état. And a Republican controlled Congress gave this parade of Constitutional destruction the right-of-way. Protecting this destruction of our Constitution and laws were men like Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and the rest of his Republican caucus. Their blind eye to the corruption of the Bush years makes their attack on the nomination of Eric Holder drip with hypocrisy and fear. They deserve a strong counter-attack as they work over-time to deny America an Attorney General who will finally put the Constitution and the People above President and Party.

Eric Holder will be a great Attorney General. He has independence and integrity coupled with a devotion to the law, the Department of Justice and the Constitution. He is a long-time fighter of corruption in Government and has aggressively prosecuted members of both Parties. He began his career over thirty years ago with a twelve-year stint in the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ. I suspect that he will be appalled at how politicized the PI Section and the entire DOJ has become under Republican misrule. I trust that he will get out a big broom and clean house.

He should already be confirmed. He should already be at work. The Country can not wait another week for justice, honor and integrity to return to the Department of Justice. And yet, we are forced to wait. Why? Simple, the Republican Party is desperately afraid that Holder will do his job. They fear that aggressive investigations into political corruption will expose their wrongdoing. So they panic in the hope that somehow, someway they will be able to stop him.

As I’ve written before, this attack is being led by Senator Arlen Specter who is in the middle of his predictable sexennial molting of integrity, independence and values as he dances to the tune of the conservative bosses of his party. Every six years, Arlen caves into their whims in the hopes that they will support his re-election. This time out, Karl and the gang want Specter to take the lead in attacking Eric Holder. It is a task that Specter embraces with all the slime and hypocrisy that he can muster. (And when it comes to slime and hypocrisy, Arlen Specter is an experienced ninja of the dark arts).

It was looking like Specter was out on the branch all alone. It was looking like his effort was failing and that the not-too-subtle undercurrent of racism woven into right-wing attacks on Eric Holder were beginning to damage Specter and his Party. It looked like the Republican Party had realized that fighting the first African-American Attorney General with nothing more than Clinton hatred, lies, innuendo and racist dog whistles was a losing strategy.

And then President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Presidential Records. For Republican Corruptionists, this was the last straw. It came on the heels of a long line of statements and comments by the new President about the power his Attorney General would have when it comes to looking into past misdeeds. For example, on January 11, 2009 the President told George Stephanopoulos that the decision to launch an investigation into torture and other Bush war crimes would be left to his Attorney General (emphasis added):

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?

OBAMA: What I -- I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he is the people's lawyer. Eric Holder's been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, he's going to be making some calls, but my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed looking at what we got wrong in the past.

That got quite a few folks in the GOP pretty nervous. And the testimony of Eric Holder during his confirmation hearing did not calmed their nerves. In his testimony, Holder clearly said that water-boarding was torture and he refused to say that those who engaged in torture, or authorized it, should be granted automatic immunity from prosecution.

This is troubling to loyal Bushies and members of the Conservative moral failure caucus. Still, they had an Ace up their sleeve to ensure that evidence of their wrongdoing would never see the light of day. They had Executive Privilege. Holder could become Attorney General, but the records of the Bush/Cheney years would be sealed for decades at the National Archives under a big, fat Executive Privilege stamp.

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Back at the end of the last century, the issue of sweatshops was getting a lot of mainstream attention. By 1999 corporations were reeling from consumer pressure and it was looking like Congress was going to take some action. At that time, Dennis (more...)
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