The Corner

Obama vs. Holder

In a New York Times interview, President Obama mildly rebukes Attorney General Eric Holder for his comments that on race we are “a nation of cowards.” When asked about Holder’s remarks, Obama said, “I think it’s fair to say that if I had been advising my Attorney General, we would have used different language.”

Good for the president for saying what he did. Now Obama could have rebuked Holder sooner and more forcefully than he did — but later is better than never, and a mild rebuke is better than none at all. President Obama added, “I’m not somebody who believes that constantly talking about race somehow solves racial tensions.”

Those words are Barack Obama at his best. For the most part, he has been responsible and fair-minded when talking about one of the most divisive and volatile issues in American public life. He can — by his words, tone, and leadership — do great good or great harm on this issue. Unlike his attorney general, Obama so far has been a constructive and unifying force. That’s something for which to be grateful.