Black Monday


No, not at the stock market, although there was plenty of bad news there, too yesterday.

October 3, 2011 was Black Monday for the Obama Administration.  One long-developing scandal finally threatened to decapitate the most politicized Justice Department since John Mitchell, and another from Obama’s campaign past burst onto the scene, undermining the President’s carefully-tended post-racial image.

CBS News obtained documents that Eric Holder knew about Operation Fast and Furious long before he said he did, in sworn testimony before Congress.

New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.

On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

Yet internal Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.

CBS then links to three different memos that Holder would have received – and we can easily believe there were others – discussing Fast and Furious over the 10 months prior to Holder’s testimony.

In other words, the Attorney General of the United States lied under oath to a Congressional committee in order to save himself, confuse investigators’ timelines, and give himself more time to construct a “narrative.”

The Justice Department has an explanation, naturally:

The Justice Department told CBS News that the officials in those emails were talking about a different case started before Eric Holder became Attorney General. And tonight they tell CBS News, Holder misunderstood that question from the committee – he did know about Fast and Furious – just not the details.

If the first claim is true, the Administration will need to produce documentation not only about that earlier case, but also a broad paper trail about the Department’s handling of it.  Remember, they need not only prove that such a case existed, but that the attorneys involved were discussing it, not Gunwalker.

As for Holder’s claim that he “misunderstood the question,” go to the link and watch the testimony yourself.  Rep. Issa asks a simple, straightforward question: “When did you first know about the program officially called, ‘Fast and Furious?'”  Holder then says, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

I’m not sure what there was to misunderstand, unless such misunderstanding was deliberate.  Whatever one thinks of Holder’s politics or the way he’s corrupted the Justice Department with politics, he’s a government lawyer with long experience testifying before Congress in various capacities.  The idea that he didn’t understand the meaning of “when did you first hear?” is simply not credible.

The MSM has been singularly sympathetic to the Obama Administration, but its coverage of Fast and Furious has actually been pretty decent, given their time and space constraints.  The Washington Post in particular has devoted significantly more space to this than it has, even, to campground signage in west Texas.  With the emergence of direct evidence that the Administration, in the person of its Attorney General, has been not merely stonewalling, but also actively lying in order to cover up the scandal, the phrase “Worse than Watergate” begins to take on real meaning.

Combine that with evidence that Elana Kagan did the same during her Supreme Court confirmation testimony, in order to place herself in a position to defend the Progressives’ signature Obamacare legislation, and a patter begins to emerge of administration contempt for Congress, parallel to its contempt for the people its supposed to be governing.

At the same time, Andrew Breitbart uncovered photos of then-Senator Obama campaigning in 2007 with the New Black Panthers.  (John Sexton over at Big Government has found the video of Obama’s speech that he gave at the same event, along with the take that the New Black Panthers’ Malik Shabazz had on Obama’s remarks.)

Barack Obama has carefully constructed an image of himself as post-racial, and used that image to great political effect.  Sharing a stage with bigots and racial provocateurs like the New Black Panthers, even if only to shore up his authenticity among Black voters, does much to undermine that image.  Now Attorney General Holder’s decision to drop a case that had already been won, against the Panthers in Philadelphia, begins to look less like just racial bias – a damning enough trait in a Justice Department – but also like political payback.

Normally, candidates get a couple of “resets” during a campaign.  After they’re elected, it’s their record, not their campaign, that we judge them by.  And for the most part, after they’re nominated for the next office, most of the primary campaign is forgotten.  This can be useful, allowing the public to focus on the debate at hand, and deferring to the judgment of those who had to make previous nominating and election decisions.

But with a too-friendly press, such deliberate amnesia can also be manipulated, and in this case the MSM has been derelict in its duty.  Only Juan Williams, evidently, commented on the joint appearance at the time, and the rest of the MSM ignored it, no doubt because it didn’t fit their narrative.

Barack Obama campaigned to white America as a post-racial healer, one who, for the price of a vote, offer absolution for its past racial sins.  And yet, in the very speech where he quotes a latter from a pastor encouraging him to be true to his ideals, he’s compromising that image.  Moreover, with such a tissue-thin level of achievement up to that point, and with a lamentable record as President, the facts of his past presidential campaign which were never vetted properly at the time become relevant to our judgment about him now.

Both of these, politically and substantively, are far more important than west Texas campground signage and whatever the appropriate level of contemporaneous outrage should have been, and far more important than astro-turfed “rallies” whose job it is to distract us and to change the subject.

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