Monday, June 18, 2012

GOP: Fast, Furious, and Without a Clue *UPDATED*

For a long while now, the GOP has desperately sought some scandal with which it could tar President Obama. So far nothing has stuck (Luck for them Operation: Sabotage of the Economy is going well.). But they still try. And with Solyndra, a solar cell company, they hoped for something, but no. It isn’t sexy.
But what about Fast and Furious? The crappy movie series? No, it’s a program that ran stings to try and take down those moving guns out of the US into Mexico. The program did not go well. It lead to a lot of firearms moving over the border, into the hands of criminals, and which caused the death of at least one US border agent.

 Guns? Mexican gangs? Dead American? Now that is sexy to a Republican.

So, while pushing on other fronts, many Republicans are hoping this operation will lead to the destruction of the Obama administration. First on their list is to destroy the US Attorney General Eric Holder.

From Daily Kos:
In a fiery hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, read a list of complaints. Among other things, he claimed Holder had misled the committee, sent a letter containing false information to a committee member, will not tell the truth about what he knew and when he knew it regarding the program, will not take responsiblity for various failures of the Department of Justice, has engaged in a conflict of interest by not setting up an independent investigation of the gun-walking scandal, has endangered national security and will not hold anyone in his department accountable 
That sounds bad. If it were more than a eschewed and twisted reading of events by John Cornyn, I’d  be more worried.  No, this is a pathetic bit of theater, attempting to create some semblance of real passion or villainy. Pathetic.

What’s more…
It's more with sorrow than regret, than with anger, that I would say that youleave me no alternative but to join those who call upon you to resign your office. 
Oh, for fuck sake, fire that speechwriter, Cornyn. I don’t know what second rate novel he pulled this line from, but they should be ashamed they even read it, let along gave it to you to read.

Still, it nicely reflects the melodrama you are acting out. (And, yes, too many committee meetings of congress are sad little melodramas, prewritten and rehearsed, for later release in a fundraising letter.) 
Thankfully, Holder was ready, because, if anything, this conservative shtick is to be expected.
Holder: With all due respect, senator, there is so much that is factually wrong with the premises that you started your statement with, it's almost breathtaking in its inaccuracy, but, I'll simply leave it at that. 
If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I'm the attorney general that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An attorney general whom I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called "Wide Receiver" and did nothing to stop them. Nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, "walked" in that instance. 
I'm also the attorney general who called on an inspector general to look into this matter, to investigate this matter. I'm also the attorney general who made personnel changes at ATF and in the U.S. Attorneys office that was involved, have overseen the changes of processes and procedures within ATF to make sure that this doesn't happen ever again.
And I've also said, indicated, I guess, earlier in my testimony, to the extent that all of that is not enough to satisfy the concerns that have been raised in the House committee, I am willing to sit down and talk about the provision of more materials. I have sent letters in that regard, the deputy attorney general has sent letters in that regard, and have not had responses. Which leads me to believe that the desire here is not for an accommodation but for a political point-making. And that is the kind of thing that, you know, you and and your side, I guess, have the ability to do if that's what you want to do. It is the kind of thing that I think turns people off about Washington. While we have very serious problems, we still have this political gamesmanship. 
This program began, like Solyndra, under the last administration, the Bush administration. But that is not something the Republicans want to acknowledge. Rather they want to create a narrative of corruption and folly.

And so far, outside of talk radio and FOX News, next to no one really cares.

But THIS is what the Republicans in Congress are focused on, when they aren’t pushing laws on women’s reproductive rights.


Thought I'd add a link to a useful Think Progress piece on the paucity of the GOP's argument against the Obama administration on Fast and Furious.

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