Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just Dump Holder Now

It seems that almost everyone recognizes how interesting the confirmation hearings of Eric Holder for U.S. Attorney General should be. At the same time, there is the ever-present sense that the hearings will be boring, a mere formality. The Democrats control the Senate and they will never, ever tire of identifying Mr. Holder as the "first African-American" nominated for the position. Let's face it, when that is your lead punch, it says an awful lot! But Republicans will most certainly wilt in the face of the effort to, once again, "make history."

Then, of course, there will be lots of chatter about Holder's extensive "experience" - you know, the stuff that isn't so important in a presidential candidate who is all about "change you can believe in." Ah, here's the rub. One can hardly scratch the surface of the "experience" of Mr. Holder without experiencing the very strong scent of Bill Clinton, pardon scandals, Marc Rich, the FALN terrorists, the Weather Underground, disingenuous evasiveness and constant assertions of executive privilege. Why? Because those are - without any doubt whatsoever - the "highlights" of Mr. Holder's "experience."

An editorial by Dennis Byrne in today's Chicago Tribune says:

And if Obama truly wants to unite us, he should dump Holder now. Or at least make Holder fully explain his role in President Bill Clinton's grant of clemency to 16 terrorists from the Armed Forces of National Liberation, known by its Spanish acronym FALN. It's a question Holder has been dodging for more than a decade, and the one he will have to answer if he expects to be confirmed by the Senate.
Of course, when Byrne says "must" answer, he is being optimistic. And his editorial quickly rebounds into the harsh reality:
Why Obama wanted to resurrect all these troubling memories by nominating Holder is beyond me, especially in light of his campaign rhetoric about "bringing us together." I know, anyone who questions the Holder appointment will be accused of driving us apart, as if we have no right to ask for an explanation.
But, if one dares to not confuse the foggy new-age fear of "divisiveness" with pertinent empirical facts, Byrnes' editorial lays out the case against Holder quite well. He recounts that the FALN pardons were opposed by U.S. attorneys, the DOJ, the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons. But Holder met privately with a Representative from Illinois and other Democratic congressmen with Puerto Rican constituents to discuss the case. Why? Because Holder is just the person to address the current concerns about removing "politics" from the Department of Justice!

While Holder was having the private meetings and ignoring the opinion of a world of law enforcement, he also ensured that no one bothered to question the bombing victims. Adding insult to injury, he steadfastly pleaded executive privilege when asked about his "experience" in committee hearings. The icing on the cake: it was later revealed that Holder's summary of FALN reached Bill Clinton's desk without the standard go or no-go recommendation.

That is to say, Holder served as an advisor and engineered the pardons. He ignored law enforcement and completely ignored the victims of 120 bombs. Then, at the critical moment, when Holder was supposed to perform the primary function of his job in the clemency process as deputy attorney general, he made sure his own fingerprints were nowhere to be found. At best, Mr. Holder mustered up all of his integrity and voted "present." Sound familiar? See full editorial here.

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