by AWR Hawkins
During the House Oversight Committee hearings yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder denounced what he called a “political gotcha game.” And he was not without his defenders, Democrats all, who also tried to spin the hearing into nothing more than an election year sideshow orchestrated by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Yet ironically, even as Holder and his defenders tried to make Issa and his Republican colleagues look like naïve political opportunists, the rhetoric of the Democrats was little more than a politically charged lesson in sycophancy 101.
For example, when Congressman Gerald Connolly’s (D-VA) time began, he addressed the room, and Holder, thus: “Thank you for being here and showing such dignity and honor in the face of some who are suggesting that you are other [than dignified and honorable].” And Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) opened his time by referring to yesterday’s hearing as a “bonfire of the vanities.” He said this was so because “after nearly six hearings, [by those who] are looking for the perfect case to embarrass the AG and the President,” all that’s been learned is that “this is not it.” These two examples were indicative of the praise Democrats heaped upon Holder, and they clearly demonstrated that the facts don’t matter. Rather, they put party and power above the truth.
Yet as stomach turning as this was, perhaps even worse was the Democrats’ unabashed, open pursuit of more gun control during yesterday’s hearings. Almost to a man, once they finished praising Holder they took turns trying to alleviate the pressure he’s under by suggesting Fast and Furious couldn’t have happened if we had more stringent gun control laws. (In making this point, they conveniently overlooked the number of gun control laws that violated with impunity during Operation Fast and Furious.)
So as the saga unfolded yesterday, once Connolly had praised the “dignity and honor” of Holder, he and the AG basically had a conversation in front of the world about the supposed need for a new federal firearms trafficking law.
And Holder indicated that there is no significant federal straw-purchasing law either: so he wants that too. (Here, Holder was disingenuous at best because anyone who has bought a firearm within the last fifteen years knows that on the yellow federal background check form, the buyer has to declare that he’s the actual buyer of the weapon: that he’s not buying it for someone else who can’t legally buy it. In other words, the buyer is declaring that he’s not a straw purchaser.)
And I didn’t even get into the latter portions of Quigley’s time, where he also bemoaned the lack of a new federal firearms trafficking statute, spoke highly of the long gun reporting measure Holder & Co. implemented in the wake of Fast and Furious, and then actually expressed support for expanding the budget of the ATF, as well as boosting the number of ATF agents. And hapless Holder concurred: “If we’re serious, as we all say we are, in dealing with the problem of guns going to Mexico…we need more people than we have now in ATF.”
When Holder then tried to turn the hearing into a discussion about the need for the Senate to confirm a new head of the ATF, Chairman Issa interrupted and brought matters back to reality by saying the president had spent more than two years without even bothering to nominate a head for ATF.
The bottom line: It’s just not that important to them folks. And Holder (and his defenders) only bring these issues up now as a way to get Issa, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and others, off Holder’s trail. The Democrats have no intention of pursuing justice on the matter of Fast and Furious, and they proved it again yesterday.