Human Events Blog

Eric Holder Plays the Race Card

The New York Times tried to give embattled Attorney General Eric Holder a leg up against mounting criticism with a ludicrous puff piece on Sunday, designed to portray him as a lonely hero defending himself from a horde of teabagging Republican zombies.  The original title of the piece, which still appears in its online web link, was apparently “Under Partisan Fire, Eric Holder Soldiers On.”  Someone at the Times must have felt the vestiges of journalistic integrity and common sense poking them in the cerebellum, because the official title became “A Partisan Lighting Rod Is Undeterred,” which at least faintly acknowledges that Holder benefits from partisan politics at least as much as he suffers from them.

You’ll find no such balance within the Charlie Savage piece, which has already been busted by the Daily Caller for outright lying about the lack of “documents or testimony” showing that Holder knew about “gun walking” before his first round of possibly perjured Congressional testimony.  Savage didn’t even try to conjure up sources for this assertion – he just threw it out there and hoped the Times readership would be poorly informed enough, by virtue of being the Times readership, to believe him without question.

Savage does Holder no favors by accurately quoting his latest pitiful defense.  The Attorney General whose perjury defense rests upon the aggressive assertion that he never cleans out his inbox, and has no idea what most of the Justice Department is up to, has formally played the race card:

In the interview, Mr. Holder offered a glimpse of how he viewed the criticism. He said he thought some critics — like Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who favors allowing the military to handle terrorism suspects over the criminal justice system — are expressing “good faith” arguments about their policy disagreements.

But Mr. Holder contended that many of his other critics — not only elected Republicans but also a broader universe of conservative commentators and bloggers — were instead playing “Washington gotcha” games, portraying them as frequently “conflating things, conveniently leaving some stuff out, construing things to make it seem not quite what it was” to paint him and other department figures in the worst possible light.

Of that group of critics, Mr. Holder said he believed that a few — the “more extreme segment” — were motivated by animus against Mr. Obama and that he served as a stand-in for him. “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” he said, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

(Emphasis mine.)  Wow, that’s just what America needs from the Attorney General: unsubstantiated random allegations of racial thought crimes.

Another statement by Holder brings us closer to the truth about why someone so clearly unsuited for his job is kept in place by the Administration, even after a round of testimony in which he said – with a  straight face – that “lying” is entirely a matter of feelings and emotion:

Mr. Holder, however, attributed most of the hostility to underlying ideological differences. “I think that people, despite my law enforcement background, view me as taking these consistently progressive stands, and I think that, philosophically, there is a desire to get at that person,” he said. “But I think the stands I have taken are totally consistent with a person who is looking at things realistically, factually.”

So within the sealed bubble of the New York Times, “taking consistently progressive stands” is not partisanship… but criticism of an insane program that pushed hundreds of guns across the border into Mexico, and resulted in hundreds of deaths, can be nothing else.  No one could actually be upset about the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, or at least they wouldn’t be if Holder and/or Obama were white.

Holder also tried to dismiss criticism of his performance as “payback” for the kind of hardball party politics deployed against Bush appointees that the media had very little interest in dismissing as partisan attacks, let alone criticizing:

In the interview, Mr. Holder said he viewed such attacks as “payback” for the way his predecessors in the Bush administration, John Ashcroft and Alberto R. Gonzales, were treated by their critics. Mr. Ashcroft was routinely criticized by Democrats as undermining civil liberties in the fight against terrorism and was mocked by liberals for covering up a Justice Department statue that has an exposed breast. Mr. Gonzales underwent heated oversight hearings about matters like the firing of a group of United States attorneys, and eventually resigned under pressure.

“They want to go after some high-level official in the administration,” Mr. Holder said.

Notice how casually the Times slips that hoary old debunked myth about Ashcroft and the exposed breast in there.  This is a reference to a blue backdrop cloth for TV interviews that was set up in the Justice Department by Attorney General Ashcroft’s advance team, blocking out background elements which included the exposed nude breast of a statue. 

This was falsely caricatured as the creepy, uptight religious fanatic Ashcroft dropping a burqua on that topless tart, Lady Justice.  The Left and liberal media went nuts with this fairy tale, based entirely on a single 2002 ABC News report that actually admitted the truth in the final paragraphs – it’s long gone from ABC’s website, but there are copies of it here and there, although it’s apparently too much to expect The Paper of Record to look them up.

But by all means, let’s listen to Eric Holder bleat some more about the uniquely vicious “partisanship” he faces.  God forbid anyone should actually go back and review the partisan Democrat “pressure” Alberto Gonzales was subjected to, and compare it with Holder’s laughably evasive answers to serious questions about a DOJ program that killed people.


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