Politics & Policy

Who Will Save Democrats from Their Leaders?

Eric Holder at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, September 15, 2018 (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)
In a better time, we would be talking not about Eric Holder but about real Democratic leaders.

‘When they go low” . . . that’s where they are sure to find Eric Holder.

Sometimes, the former attorney general is excusing hard-Left, unrepentant, anti-American FALN separatists by helping a Democratic president spring them from imprisonment for their terrorist crimes.

Sometimes, he is helping a Democratic president commute the sentences of hard-Left terrorists whose only regret was their failure to shoot it out against police who interrupted another bombing spree in their war against the United States.

Sometimes, he is volunteering his legal services and his status as a former top Justice Department official to file a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the al Qaeda jihadist who was apprehended while plotting a second wave of 9/11 mass-murder attacks.

Sometimes, he is defying congressional committees investigating his Justice Department’s reckless, politically driven “gun-walking” scheme gone awry — the Fast and Furious “investigation” that armed murderous Mexican drug gangs and got a border-patrol officer killed.

Sometimes, he is sharing a podium with his friend Al Sharpton, who is threatening to incite mayhem — as Sharpton is wont to do — if police fail to trump up a racially charged case rather than let the evidence determine whether to indict.

Sometimes, he is trying to keep his story straight about that time when, as a Columbia undergrad, he proudly joined other campus radicals in occupying a building and the dean’s office — forcible intimidation to extort political concessions.

And sometimes, Holder is just engaged in old-fashioned political corruption: helping a Democratic president circumvent the Justice Department in carrying out the pay-to-play pardon of a notorious fugitive.

But if there is anyone who knows about “going low,” it is Mr. Holder. He is, after all, the first attorney general in American history to be held in contempt of Congress.

And low is exactly where Holder — along with Hillary “No Civility Unless We Win” Clinton and the rest of the social-justice arriére-garde — has taken a once-great political party.

In a better time, we would not be talking about Eric Holder. He would be dismissed as a fringe radical who endorses forcible, extortionist tactics against political adversaries (and then, in familiar Holder fashion, spends the next day pretending he didn’t say what he said). In a better time, we would be asking why anyone would care what Eric Holder says, about anything.

But today, Holder is important. Today, he is a mainstream Democratic leader. Today, his antics illustrate two things we fail to bear in mind at our peril.

First, the high-minded airs put on by the hard left are a fraud, and a dangerous one.

Note that the wind-up for Holder’s dimwitted pitch that Democrats must “kick” their Republican rivals was his invocation of Michelle Obama’s precious summons: “When they go low, we go high.” But that’s been a con job from the moment she said it.

Mrs. Obama rode into the White House on her husband’s admonition, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” That would be the same Barack Obama whose political coming-out party was held in the living room of his good friends, the “small ‘c’ communist,” unrepentant former terrorists Bernardine Dohrn (“The Weathermen dig Charles Manson”) and Bill Ayers (on his bomb for the Pentagon: “Everything was absolutely ideal. . . . The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them”).

That would also be the same Barack Obama who rationalized leveraging political advocacy with extortion — what “community organizers” like to call “direct action.” Here’s an excerpt from Obama’s 1990 encomium to radical icon Saul Alinksy:

The debate as to how black and other dispossessed people can forward their lot in America is not new. From W.E.B. DuBois to Booker T. Washington to Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, this internal debate has raged between integration and nationalism, between accommodation and militancy, between sit-down strikes and boardroom negotiations. The lines between these strategies have never been simply drawn, and the most successful black leadership has recognized the need to bridge these seemingly divergent approaches.

Militancy? Yeah, the mob — the Democrats’ front line of shock troops — is still sorting out “the need to bridge” that “seemingly divergent approach” to ordinary politics in a pluralistic, ideologically diverse republic. Of course, it’s only a problem if you take Michelle’s “go high” nostrum seriously. Democrats don’t, because they understand it’s a game: The pursuit of “social justice” (translation: getting their way by shredding your liberties) is always considered “going high,” regardless of how militant the tactic. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask Steve Scalise and Rand Paul.

That brings us to the second point Eric Holder’s incitements should clarify.

The latest regression to the 1970s “any means necessary” politics that today’s Democrats have reincarnated was triggered by Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But don’t be confused. The fact that Kavanaugh was the occasion for Democratic anarchy does not mean he was the cause.

This was not about Brett Kavanaugh. This was about power. The character assassination heaped on Kavanaugh would have been used against any President Trump nominee poised to shift the Supreme Court rightward. Remarkably, Democrats now kick themselves for not attacking the nominee even more viciously. Doesn’t matter who the nominee was. The real objective was not to destroy Kavanaugh but to convey what Democrats have in store for any conservative who seeks high public office. If you don’t grasp that, you’re not paying attention.

Most conservatives see government as a necessary evil; they would like a limited United States government that reflects this suspicion and the Framers’ emphasis on liberty. Most Democrats see government as a desirable good; they would like an active United States government that rights wrongs and addresses the complex challenges of modern, globally interconnected society. Many brilliant, able people have been that kind of Democrat — the kind of patriot who loves America as it is but strives to improve it, not radically alter it. The country needs those Democrats to take their party back.

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