The Corner

Mother of Mercy . . .

. . . is this the end of Rico? Or rather, Eric Holder? President Obama’s human firewall sure seems to be crumbling these days, a victim of his own intransigence as well as his deep, heartfelt and longtime radicalism — a radicalism that, by definition, renders him unsuitable for any position that requires him to defend the very institution with which he’s been entrusted. After all, the whole point of Sixties’ radicalism was to “change the system,” and when they found out they couldn’t do it from the outside — taking real casualties was not something most of them were prepared to do — they beetled underground, like the 17-year-cicadas, only to emerge in 2008. 

And now here they are, fully formed and out into the light at last. The irony — as Andy touches on below — is that, far from being the noble idealists of their dreams, they turned out to be shabby little careerists like everybody else, always angling for the next promotion and looking for the main chance: 

Essentially, in violation of DOJ procedures that require input from the prosecutors on a pardon petitioner’s case, Holder opened a back-door to the Oval Office so that Rich’s lawyers (with help from Holder) could argue directly to Clinton in favor of the pardon. At the time, Holder was hoping to be named attorney general in a Gore administration, and Rich was being represented by Jack Quinn, former Clinton White House Counsel and an Al Gore confidant.

That should have been all we needed to know about Eric Holder — his actions were too much even for an old-school liberal such as the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen – but since then the AG has gone (as the Brits say) from strength to strength, as I recounted on Sunday in a big op-ed piece for the New York Post:

If you want to see the true face of the Obama administration, you need look no further than the president’s embattled attorney general, Eric Holder.

By turns whiny, shifty, obfuscatory, petulant, insulting and arrogant, Holder has become a fixture before congressional investigating committees, fending off one Obama scandal after another, while proclaiming that he – the nation’s top cop – doesn’t know anything about anything and highly resents any implication that he does.

Indeed, all the Obama scandals – the murderous gunrunning scheme called Fast and Furious, the secret monitoring of the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen (personally approved by Holder), even the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups for special scrutiny – find their nexus at the top of the Justice Department.

Naturally, the wagon-circling Left is already playing the victim card, as this piece by Daniel Klaidman so nicely illustrates. Like Jessica Rabbit, Holder’s not bad — he’s just drawn that way:

Holder knew that Justice would be besieged by the twin leak probes; but, according to aides, he was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse… As attorney general, a position at the intersection of law, politics, and investigations, Holder has been at the center of partisan controversy almost since taking office. But sources close to the attorney general says he has been particularly stung by the leak controversy, in large part because his department’s – and his own – actions are at odds with his image of himself as a pragmatic lawyer with liberal instincts and a well-honed sense of balance – not unlike the president he serves.

Yeah, right. Actually, I couldn’t agree more — he’s exactly like the president he serves:

Whether he’s obstructing justice in the Fast and Furious matter – which won him his well-deserved contempt citation – refusing to say whether the government can assassinate American citizens at home without due process (he eventually, grudgingly answered “no”) or blatantly lying to Congress about the Rosen surveillance (“this is not something I’ve ever been involved in”), Holder – like Obama – is a master of talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Holder is also a friend, or at least a kindred spirit. Where Clinton’s appointment was a marriage of convenience, and other cabinet members political picks, Holder shares the president’s mind on issues and speaks as Obama himself would.

Holder is, in short, the perfect apparatchik. And so he survives, trading punches with pesky congressmen and absorbing blows meant for the boss. For Obama to fire him would be like firing himself – and we all know that’s the last thing the president wants to do


Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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