Unsurprisingly, several Democrats attempted to politicize the scandal. “They keep moving the goal posts,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in reference to the requests made by Mr. Issa to get the additional documents. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), was “horrified” and claimed the investigation had become a “political witch hunt.” Rep Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) referred to the contempt proceeding as a “kangaroo court,” ultimately aimed at the president. The ever-colorful Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) apparently missed the DOJ’s retraction of Mr. Holder’s aforementioned assertion and offered up an all-too-familiar Democratic refrain. “This Fast and Furious debacle started under the Bush administration,” she said. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer also hammered Committee Republicans. “Instead of creating jobs or strengthening the middle class, congressional Republicans are spending their time on a politically motivated, taxpayer-funded election-year fishing expedition,” he said.
“Fishing expedition” is an incredibly callous assessment of an operation that claimed the life of Border Patrol Agent Brain Terry, more than 300 Mexican civilians, and possibly that of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata as well. Terry’s parents were furious with the president for invoking executive privilege. “Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy,” Josephine Terry and Kent Terry, Sr., wrote in a statement released by family attorney Pat McGroder. The statement’s conclusion hit home. “Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious,” it read.
They were not alone in venting their disgust. On Monday, the National Border Patrol Council, representing all 17,000 of the agency’s non-supervisory agents called for Mr. Holder’s resignation, with Council President George E. McCubbin III describing Mr. Holder’s actions in the case as “a slap in the face to all Border Patrol agents who serve this country” and “an utter failure of leadership at the highest levels of government.”
Ironically, it is the president himself who has amplified that failure. By invoking executive privilege, Mr. Obama has made a complete mockery of his promise that he would run the “most transparent administration in history,” and revealed the hypocrisy of his 2007 accusation claiming Bush administration officials “hide behind executive privilege every time something a little shaky is taking place.”
Yet the biggest error Mr. Obama made is political. By invoking executive privilege he has turned Fast and Furious into a national story, one even the most hopelessly compromised members of the mainstream media can no longer ignore. Nothing reveals the extent of that ideologically tainted compromise better than this excerpt from a Washington Post column by blogger Chris Cillizza. Note the sneering contempt for the public as well:
While the debate over “Fast and Furious” — and the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches — is an important one, it is also decidedly complex, meaning that most undecided voters simply won’t engage on it
No matter how “Fast and Furious” ultimately turns out, this will be (yet another) motivator for an already very enthusiastic Republican base to turn out in hopes of ousting President Obama from office. For everyone else, it’s not likely to move many votes–either way.
In other words, unless one is an “enthusiastic Republican,” one can’t possibly be bothered to follow a “complicated” gunwalking scandal that armed Mexican drug cartels with thousands of weapons, killed American agents and Mexican civilians, and might involve some of the highest-ranking officials in the current administration, including the president himself. This is whistling past the graveyard in the extreme.
Barring something currently unforeseen, the next stop in this saga will be a full vote on contempt of Congress charges in the House of Representatives — whether the mainstream media bothers to cover it or not. And contrary to Mr. Cillizza’s assessment, one suspects the general public will indeed be alarmed at this bloody debacle once it has gotten the publicity it deserves.
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