“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”
—-Attorney General Eric Holder, explaining what he believes to be the motives of “extreme factions” in their efforts to hold him accountable for the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” debacle in an interview with the New York Times.
Ah, the race card! What a versatile, powerful weapon in the arsenal of public figures under scrutiny, criticism and attack who happen to be African-American! How comforting it must be to know that when it gets really difficult, even impossible, to talk your way out of a mess of your own making, there us always this last ditch, accountability-ducking tactic that will cause reporters to recoil, accusers to quail, public sympathy to shift, and Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley to leap to attention. Play the race card! Jesse and Al have made a career doing it. Clarence Thomas, Barry Bonds, Marion Barry, Armstrong Williams, Herman Cain, and so many others resorted to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always worth a try…unless, of course, you have sufficient dignity, honesty and integrity to resist the impulse. Say what you will about Charlie Rangel, and I’ve said plenty, but he never claimed that his ethics problems were due to his race. It’s strange to praise someone for not resorting to dishonest and unconscionable tactics, but so automatic is the race card ploy among prominent African Americans in peril that I think Rangel deserves more credit than I gave him.
Holder’s risible claim that racism has played any part in the growing criticism of his tenure as the government’s top lawyer—to date 60 members of Congress have called for his resignation—should establish once and for all that he is an embarrassment to the Obama Administration. Whatever respect I had for him as an individual has certainly been obliterated by it. I live in Washington. D.C., and have spoken at length with attorneys of both parties, some of whom have worked with and for Holder. If there is anyone who thinks he has been anything but wretched at his job, I have missed him. Those who like Holder personally, and there are many, are saddened and disappointed, but he has no advocates. The Fast and Furious operation, which resulted in the death of one federal agent, was merely the most recent example of his managerial ineptitude. Holder’s Clintonian responses to Congress’s questions about the fiasco have raised legitimate suspicions of a wide-spread cover-up. Morale in the Justice Department is sinking to new lows. If Holder really thinks that a white Attorney General with his record would have escaped similar scrutiny, we can add paranoia and delusion to the list of reasons why the President should dismiss him before he embarrasses the Administration further. The cold, hard facts are that an honorable Attorney General would have accepted responsibility for Fast and Furious, and resigned, and that a white Attorney General would have been fired.
And any Attorney general who stoops to fanning racial divisions and suspicion to save a job that his own conduct has forfeited should be fired.
We now will see if playing the race card is considered an acceptable tactic in the Obama Administration. That will tell us a lot.