You need not be a physicist to marvel at the parallel universes that exist inside the Beltway. In one universe affable republican representatives are cordial to Attorney General Eric Holder at a White House picnic on Wednesday night. An alternate universe has the House GOP plotting to give Holder the dubious distinction of being the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress for being a heck of a lot more forthcoming than was George W. Bush’s AG, Alberto Gonzales. For the record, evidence thus far suggests that as late as February 2011 Holder had limited knowledge of the botched operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives known as Operation Fast and Furious. By contrast though there was a bipartisan demand for Gonzales to resign because of the the hiring discrimination carried out by his two of his senior aides, Gonzales was not held in contempt.
The GOP is basing their charges on Holder’s refusal to turn over certain documents regarding the operation in which federal agents appear to have lost track of guns they were monitoring in an effort to bait firearm dealers. The “gun-walking” practice wasn’t revealed until the bullet from one of the AFT guns killed a boarder patrol agent named Brian Terry.
The contempt campaign appears to be led by the National Rifle Association, which is ironic considering no group does more to keep weapons on the street than the NRA.
House Democrats (at least those not beholden to the NRA) agreed earlier in the day to walk off the floor if the republican members of the House decided to go through with the vote. After Congressman John Dingell (a CBC member who has the Terry Family in his district) was unsuccessful in his motion to have the Contempt charge sent back to the oversight committee, the Dems walked. They were right to do so.
The GOP should savor this small victory of passing Contempt of Congress resolution against Holder 255-67 (17 Dems voted with them and over 100 Dems didn’t vote at all). It might be their last. As Newt and the GOP discovered in 1998, if you shake things up enough, people eventually wake up.
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