We need to understand that we can’t come off as a bunch of angry white men. — Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, January 2013
Holder. Go ahead and watch any hearing where Attorney General Eric Holder is the featured guest. Then watch old video of past Attorney Generals appearing in front of disgruntled members of Congress. Of course there are questions that should be asked and must be answered of the current Attorney General. But what is it about Attorney General Eric Holder that brings out the anger? As a number of instantly forgettable members of the U.S. House thrive to be more memorable on YouTube, Holder has become their favorite supporting actor in political shorts for their web sites.
Holder (what a coincidence) became the only cabinet member in American history to be held in contempt by Congress. Currently the House Judiciary Committee is contemplating a subpoena for Holder and perjury.
“They can’t get the President at the witness table so Holder is the next best thing,” one Democrat in the House said in May.
“What they’re doing with Eric Holder is fighting a proxy war with President Obama,” MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart noted on June 3.
Too bad Holder didn’t walk in wearing one of those long leather seventies style raincoats like Shaft had. Or maybe he could have had Samuel L. Jackson sit behind him during the hearing. But really, Holder didn’t need any of that. He only needed to show up. These guy were wound up angry before he got there.
Is that light red right there? Tough questions came from Reps. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Then there was team angry: Reps. Louis Gohmert (R-TX), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and Doug Collins (R-GA). Those last four were so angry they wouldn’t allow Holder to answer the questions asked. It was all question followed by quick interruption with Issa. One has to wonder: If the witness isn’t allowed to answer why is the witness there at all? As if to be in some competition to out-a**hole each other (see video below) the four angriest may have proved that putting on a show doesn’t necessarily yield information.
“Unless you have access to the FBI files you don’t know what the FBI did, you don’t know what our interactions were, you simply do not know that… you can not know what I know,” Holder snapped back.
We know about Rep. Gohmert. No surprise there. He’s angry that Attorney General Eric Holder couldn’t confirm that FBI terrorist didn’t question alleged Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev about the mosque he attended. His questions were actually not all that bad. But what’s with the anger? Under Gohmert’s analysis, “the FBI blew it” when it came to not being clairvoyant and not knowing that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was going to blow up the Boston Marathon.
- Then there was Rep. Collins. In South Georgia this anger plays well. Funny thing is, after all of Collins’ arrogant bluster he eventualy asked a good question: Did Attorney General Holder put his recusal in the AP case in writing? Turns out he didn’t. Also turns out we don’t know when the date recusal was. The exchange proves that even stupid can yield important. The only thing is: Collins may want to check with former Attorney Generals to see if it is out of the ordinary for an Attorney General to recuse himself with out recording it on paper.
Holder clearly has become use to disrespect, bluster, arrogance and being cut off. It’s hard to remember back when Mike Mukasey, John Ashcroft, Ed Meese and Alberto Gonzalez occupied the office of Attorney General. In that group, Gonzalez would likely be the one who got the roughest ride. He resigned in controversy. But if you look at the video from that rough ride from 7 years ago (see below), you see tough but respectful questions. It may only mean that the Senate has more adults. Or, it may mean be that our politics have become angrier and a place where bigmouth grandstanders thrive.
A good example of “Q&A” in the YouTube era of politics can be seen on the last video with Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) who makes some excellent points en route to making a good video to display in his website.
05.15.13: Rep. Doug Collins questions Attorney General Holder
07.04.07: Attorney General Gonzalez questions by Sen. Schumer
05.15.13: Rep. Gohmert flips on Holder
07.17.08: Attorney General Ashcroft questioned on torture by Rep. Scott
01.30.08: Attorney General Mukasey questioned by Sen. Biden
Rep. Ron DeSantis questions Attorney General Holder
Congressional questioning in the youtube age. Speeches and few questions.