Politico's Gerstein Assumes GOP and Other Efforts to Get at the Truth Are About 'Claim(ing) a Trophy Firing'

When a reporter makes an assertion about someone else's beliefs or motivations, he or she is supposed to offer something up as evidence, say a direct quote, something that person has written, or even something someone else close to him or her has said.

Politico's Josh Gerstein offered nothing of the sort in his coverage of Eric Holder's "you can't touch me" attitude, though he provides plenty of evidence to support my characterization of Holder's outlook. Gerstein, without a shred of support, wrote the following in describing what he believes Republicans and conservatives are trying to accomplish in pursuing the myriad scandals in the Obama administration which have burst forth during the past two weeks, along with others, including but not limited to Operation Fast and Furious, which occurred during the Obama administration's first term (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Republicans are eager to claim a trophy firing amid the scandals that have flared up around the Obama administration. But after years of trying to get Holder, the attorney general doesn’t seem at all worried that it’ll be his.

Okay, Josh. Who specifically has said that they want Holder fired as a "trophy"?


Crickets are chirping. Gerstein named no one.

There are plenty of Republicans, conservatives, and a few on the left who would like to see Holder step down as Attorney General, not because they want a "trophy," but because no man in modern U.S. history and possibly all of U.S. history has so thoroughly politicized his office to the point of becoming his administration's policy enforcement arm, perverting the rule of law almost beyond recognition in the process. People who genuinely care about this country's deterioration as a civil society want Holder gone because his departure may stop or slow down the bleeding and may force out some or most of the truth he and his department have been hiding.

Gerstein is the one who tells us that Holder's attitude has become one of untouchability:

He’s already become the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress, after the Justice Department refused to comply with a House subpoena demanding documents about the department’s response to the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal. He’s already been vilified by Republicans. He’s already been called on to resign.

All the while, President Barack Obama has stood by Holder, invoking executive privilege against Congress for the first time in his presidency — and doing so in an unusually broad fashion that arguably undercut his pledge to run the most transparent administration. Apart from a barrage of unpleasant news coverage, little of consequence happened.

”There’s nothing left they have to throw at him…..What are they going to do: hold him in contempt?” former Holder spokesman Matt Miller said. “It ought to be a lesson to people who work on the Hill that when you’re pushing things too far you give up the only power you really have. He has no reason to be cooperative with these people when 130 of them have called on him to resign and they all voted to hold him in contempt.”

“Having gone through the Fast and Furious and contempt, he has essentially become immune,” said civil rights lawyer John Brittain, who’s known Holder for decades. “He did show it in his body language. And we saw it when he was going back and forth with his favorite nemesis, Chairman Issa, [and] said, ‘No, I’m not going to stop talking.’”

Friends and associates say that while actions like the historic contempt votes related to Fast and Furious last June got under Holder’s skin at the time, he’s since adopted a zen-like approach to his encounters with members of Congress.

... “I respect the oversight role that Congress plays. This isn’t always a pleasant experience. It’s one that I recognize that you go through as an executive branch officer,” Holder said Wednesday. “The one thing I’ve tried to do is always be respectful of the people who’ve asked me questions. I don’t, frankly, think I’ve always been treated with a great deal of respect.… It’s not even a personal thing. If you don’t like me, that’s one thing. But I am the attorney general of the United States.”

Gerstein does offer up two people who want Holder summarily fired by Obama (Republicans, knowing that President Obama firing Holder is about as likely as the sun rising in the west and setting in the east, only want him to resign) -- and both of them are on the left:

“I have no confidence in Eric Holder anymore, and you shouldn’t either….FIRE Holder,” radio and TV host Bill Press said on Twitter Wednesday, expressing outrage over the AP subpoenas and Justice Department’s failure to prosecute major banks or bankers over the events of the 2008 financial meltdown.

“Eric Holder is the single worst cabinet appointment Barack Obama has made and he proves that day in and day out,” New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said on WNYC-FM Friday, offering a similar critique to Press’s. “Has anybody from Countrywide been indicted by the Department of Justice? The answer continues to be no.”

But Gerstein writes that it's Republicans who want a "trophy." What utter garbage.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.