It may be time for Eric Holder to quit. Fairly or unfairly, he has become an embarrassment to the president. I don’t expect President Obama to “throw him under the bus.” Obama is not running for reelection and can afford to stand by his man. But a lot of Democrats are up for election or reelection next November, and they have enough to handle without having to defend Holder’s record.
I am sure the attorney general means well. But he has left himself open to attack after attack. There was that business about his department selling guns to drug cartel “straw buyers,” for example. True, the program was not as crazy as it seemed; it was intended to lead investigators to the drug lords. And no, Holder and his folks didn’t start the program; it was a Bush Administrative initiative. But, apparently, Holder was looking the other way while it was going on. And the Republicans in Congress made him – and the president – look incompetent because of it.
It could well be the color of Holder’s skin that has made him such a target. There’s clearly a racist undercurrent in the Republicans’ vendetta against the president and his cabinet.
But Holder must know that as a black man who has achieved prominence in an admittedly unfair society, he has to be extra careful. And if he wants to play the political game, he should know there are some things a politician just doesn’t do. Chief among them is picking a fight with the press.
As I said, I’m sure he means well. He was most likely motivated simply by the desire to protect America, and the American intelligence network, when he included reporters in his investigation of leaks involving national security. But he should have known better.
Even President Obama couldn’t justify Holder’s actions this time. He conceded that:
Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.
And several Democrats in Congress have expressed dismay over the attorney general’s latest error of judgment.
Reporters can be vindictive. And the press tends to close ranks when any of its members are attacked. When you take on the Associated Press – and even Fox News – you can expect the entire Fourth Estate to strike back.
The New Orleans Times Picayune sums up the attorney general’s legacy this way:
Holder’s signature is not ideology; it is incompetence. He has spent five years learning from mistakes. It has been an expensive education.
It’s hard to argue with that assessment. Holder has been in the hot seat over and over again. And he has managed to antagonize both liberals and conservatives.
But antagonizing the press is taking foolhardiness to a whole new level.