Friday Morning Open Thread: More Holder

Glenn Thrush, at Politico, on “The backstory of how Obama lost his ‘heat shield’“:

… Holder, who began his stormy five-plus-year tenure at the Justice Department with his controversial “Nation of Cowards” speech, has chosen what seems to be the ideal (and maybe the only) moment to call it quits after more than 18 months of musing privately about leaving with the president and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, a trio bound by friendship, progressive ideology and shared African-American ancestry.

It was now or never, several current and former administration officials say, and Holder – under pressure to retire from a physician wife worried about a recent health scare, checked the “now” box. “It was a quit-now or never-quit moment,” one former administration official said. “You didn’t want confirmation hearings in 2015 if the Republicans control the Senate. So if he didn’t do it now, there was no way he could ever do it.”

Holder—described by associates as President Obama’s “heat shield” on race and civil rights—sprung it on the president over the Labor Day holidays. Obama didn’t bother to push back as he has in the past, even though staffers say he winces at the prospect of a long confirmation battle, whomever he chooses for the nation’s top law enforcement job.

Holder’s announcement gives Obama several weeks to pick and vet a successor who would face confirmation hearings in the lame-duck session after the midterms. Holder has “agreed to remain in his post until the confirmation of his successor,” a top Justice Department aide said, as an insurance policy against GOP foot-dragging.

His timing also has a personal dimension. The keenly legacy-conscious Holder has never been in better standing, leaving on arguably the highest personal note of his tenure, after a year of progress on his plan to reform sentencing laws and just after his well-received, calming-the-waters trip to Ferguson, Missouri, during the riots in August. In a background email to reporters, a senior Justice Department official struck a victory-lap tone, writing, “The Attorney General’s tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement. The last week alone has seen several announcements related to these signature issues.”…

Thrush goes on to a laundry list of possible Holder successors — Deval Patrick had already turned it down; Kamala Harris has now done so…

… Other names under consideration, but considered less likely, according to check-ins with half a dozen current and former West Wingers: Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney in Manhattan known for his aggressive Wall Street prosecutions; Ron Machen, the young U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C.—a job once held by Holder; Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a former state attorney general; former Joe Biden aide Neil MacBride, an ex-federal prosecutor in Virginia who is now a partner at the law firm Davis Polk; ex-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, another Obama favorite; and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, another former head of the civil rights division—and currently the only Latino candidate mentioned by insiders.

There’s also at least one high-profile long-shot on the informal list being circulated inside Obama’s camp: former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left Washington in 2013 to take over the massive University of California system, according to one Democrat with close ties to the White House. Napolitano was the original choice for the job at the start of Obama’s first term – a favorite of then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Holder, who had considered himself the sole front-runner for the job, was startled during the 2008-09 transition period when he was handed a Department of Justice binder that included headshots of himself and Napolitano as potential AGs.

The Holder-Napolitano rivalry was legendary: Once, after the former Arizona governor asked Holder about his future plans, the AG joked to a friend, “Sometimes I feel like Janet is touching me just to see if I’m still warm.”…

Also in Politico, Rush Limbaugh prefers to massage his dittoheads’ fear glands:

“There may be a Supreme Court vacancy, and I can see [President] Barack Obama nominating Eric Holder to fill it,” Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio program, according to a transcript

“[Holder]’s just gonna be replaced with Al Sharpton or somebody like him. I mean, that’s what the [Department of Justice] has been turned into. Eric Holder has subverted the Department of Justice and now it’s no different than if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton were running it, and whoever Obama nominates is gonna be Obama Jr. or Obama III in there,” Limbaugh said…

***********
Apart from speculating on another Friday doc-dump, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the work week?






56 replies
  1. 1

    Well, I got a call from the wife of a good friend last night. She has a rare form of esophageal cancer and her insurance won’t cover the $65,000 co-pay because the treatment is deemed “elective,” she is trying to raise the funds from friends as a loan. Without the treatment, the prognosis is negative.

    I’ve known this couple for years; she’s a sign-language interpreter for the school district and the courts, and he is my mechanic. They need the money now, so they are asking friends like me to chip in.

    This kind of stuff tears me apart.

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shorter GOP: He didn’t say, “Yes’m Massah!”

  3. 3

    @OzarkHillbilly: Rachel Maddow did a piece on Holder’s poking at Louis Gohmert’s asparagus. I admire him for being able to thinly veil his contempt.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    I’d completely forgotten the “nation of cowards” line.

    And it just makes me like him even more. It’s a brave thing to say even if you’re not an elected politician, and it’s a line that no President could ever have said, but it was spot on and somebody needed to say it.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    “[Holder]’s just gonna be replaced with Al Sharpton or somebody like him. I mean, that’s what the [Department of Justice] has been turned into. Eric Holder has subverted the Department of Justice and now it’s no different than if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton were running it, and whoever Obama nominates is gonna be Obama Jr. or Obama III in there,” Limbaugh said…

    Remember, folks, Republicans oppose Obama on the issues. Don’t even think about playing the race card, libruls.

    ETA: Also too, Newsmax:

    Al Sharpton Wants to Pick Holder Replacement

  6. 6
    Carolinus says:

    Apart from speculating on another Friday doc-dump

    The announcement was mid-Thursday and doesn’t really seem to qualify as something the administration would be trying to bury? Or is this referencing something else anticipated for today?

  7. 7
    patrick II says:

    @Mustang Bobby:
    when you write something like that here you should also say where to send money. Perhaps set up a PayPal account.

  8. 8

    @patrick II: Thanks, I’m trying to gather that information. Anyone so inclined can contact me (mustangbobby (at) barkbarkwoofwoof (dot) com) and I’ll see how they want to handle it.

  9. 9
    Schlemazel says:

    @patrick II:
    Yes! This needs a fund raiser at least as much as our furry friends do. Maybe it would at least be a down payment & the docs will take installments or something. This is a horrible situation.

  10. 10
    Kay says:

    Labor Secretary Tom Perez, another former head of the civil rights division—and currently the only Latino candidate mentioned by insiders.

    I like him, and it would be a reward for his sitting through the ridiculous and embarrassing “New Black Panther Party” hearings, where Republicans made asses of themselves.

    What was fun about The New Black Panther Party fake-scandal was, Perez was in the civil rights division so they had to call him to testify instead of Holder.

    It didn’t matter. Using the brown guy was just as good as using the black guy when it came to holding fake hearings to screech insane conspiracy theories about bias against white people.

    Brown works as well as black when you’re ratcheting up resentment, hate and division to fire up your base.

  11. 11
    Kay says:

    Hey, remember when Democrats called Alberto Gonzales to testify on whether he was showing a preference for Latinos at the DOJ? Yeah, me neither. Only conservatives get away with this blatant insulting and demeaning behavior that no one is allowed to mention and yet only someone who is bought or blind could miss. In the interest of civility (and careers and access! don’t forget what’s important here) we all have to pretend this obvious and deliberate humiliation of these people isn’t happening.

  12. 12

    I heard Fox News was saying Eric Holder is “divisive” and THAT’S why they don’t like him. Riiiight.

    Meanwhile, yesterday Alberto “torture boy” Gonzalez was met with protestors and simulated waterboarding when he visited MTSU. Still sparking protestors years after he left office, eh? Sounds pretty divisive.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Shakezula says:

    I assume anything that follows “From Politco” should be taken with a chunk of Pink Himalayan so large that McCardle would be awed into silence for a full, blissful, 60 seconds.

  15. 15
    El Caganer says:

    @Kay: They don’t even bother with the dog whistle anymore. Straight to the air-raid siren.

  16. 16
    PaulW says:

    By the by, Ferguson has erupted into riots again due to the police being a-holes. where’s the film? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/te.....al-burned/

  17. 17
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Anyone that doesn’t roll over for them is “divisive.”

    Krugman called it years ago: one of the two parties in the U.S. simply does not consider government by the other party legitimate, regardless of how it got into power or how diligently it follows the rules.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Thunderbird says:

    I think I’m going to have what I call a “hermit” weekend. Aside from the routine Saturday errands, I don’t plan on doing much of anything. Next week is going to be absolutely hellacious as it will be the awful combination of month-end and quarter-end. The only combination worse than that is month-end, quarter-end, and year-end. Oof.

  20. 20

    So, this happened:

    10-Month-Old Almost Shot By High-Powered Rifle

    Ten-month-old Charlie Sewell was asleep when a man visiting the home next door accidentally discharged a semi-automatic rifle.

    The round went through the neighbor’s home, through the walls of the Sewell’s home, through Charlie’s stuffed animals, hit his crib and landed in the carpet.

    […]

    The Sewell family woke at midnight to find Daniel Larson at their front door telling them he had accidentally fired a high-powered rifle into their house.

    “My finger slipped down and discharged the weapon,” Larson said.

    The Sewells called Bloomington Police, who discovered the devastating trajectory of the round.

    “I came in here [the nursery] and the cops where in here. And I said, ‘What is all this white stuff?’ And they said that the bunny had been hit,” Carin Sewell said.

    The round hit Charlie’s basket of stuffed animals and then hit his crib, just inches from his head.

    […]

    The Sewell’s are speaking out because they do not believe high-powered weapons should be allowed in residential neighborhoods.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Baud: Oh, come on, of course it’s not about race. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have religious backgrounds, that’s the common factor, and I’m sure Rush is worried about the appearance of church-state relations. Why are you so cynical this morning?

  22. 22
    Shakezula says:

    @Southern Beale:

    “My finger slipped down and discharged the weapon,” Larson said.

    I’m not familiar with semi/automatic rifles. But on a handgun this would mean he had a round chambered and the safety off and it would still take one hell of a weird finger slip to get inside the trigger guard to pull the trigger hard enough to fire the gun AKA Discharge the Weapon. Are rifles really that different? And crappy?

    And am I the only one who finds it weird that this kid talks about his hand as though it acts independently of the rest of his body? Maybe that’s what he tells himself when he reaches for the sweat sock.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @Shakezula: If you were a stupid motherfucker it would be pretty easy/

  24. 24
    Keith G says:

    The FSM has smiled upon me. I was randomly chosen for expedited security at the airport this morning. That meant I got to keep shoes and belt on and electronics in my bag. All I had to endure was a hand swab to see if I touched any explosives this morning. There was a joke in there somewhere just waiting to be made, but I decided not to test my luck.

    Off to my sister’s farm in North Carolina for a family gathering.

  25. 25
    Kay says:

    @Shakezula:

    We had a meeting the other day where we were told that home health aides were concerned about the elderly dementia patients that they care for shooting the aides when they come in to the homes.

    So the sheriff said he would accept any weapons and “store” them at the department, but then the group couldn’t figure out how to get the weapons unless the patient had been adjudicated incompetent or a family member would intervene. My friend Pat suggested that we tell them we were taking the guns to be “fixed” and would bring them back, which (unfortunately) made me laugh, because it’s so crazy.

    It reminded me of the Grinch that Stole Christmas, with the Christmas tree lights. The Grinch told Cindy Lou Who that the lights didn’t work on one side and that he would fix them up THERE and bring them back HERE.

  26. 26
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Shakezula:

    Nope, rifles work pretty much the same.

  27. 27
    raven says:

    @Kay: I have a Japanese WWII rifle that is “fixed”.

  28. 28
    Belafon says:

    Considering what the Roberts Court has done to Civil Liberties, I think the replacement is going to need to continue going in that direction.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    WaPo (via Reddit)

    President Obama will used his legal authority Thursday to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the central Pacific Ocean, demonstrating his increased willingness to advance a conservation agenda without the need for congressional approval.

  30. 30
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    Labor Secretary Tom Perez, another former head of the civil rights division—and currently the only Latino candidate mentioned by insiders.

    I like him, and it would be a reward for his sitting through the ridiculous and embarrassing “New Black Panther Party” hearings, where Republicans made asses of themselves.

    Perez is the real deal. I luv him. A true public servant.

  31. 31
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Rush doesn’t even dog whistle any more he just shouts “Rover” at the top of his lungs.

  32. 32
    Kay says:

    @raven:

    My middle son, who is 20, bought the youngest, who is 12, a pellet gun for his birthday. I came home from work and he had already given it to him and he was so thrilled we didn’t have the heart to tell him to take it back. The younger adores the older. I went with them to shoot, and my elder son was hitting the center of the targets consistently, right from the get-go, easily and over and over. He is shooting somewhere, raven. There is a lot I don’t know about that boy :)

    The younger was not so good at it, lost interest almost immediately, so I put it up and he has never asked for it back.

  33. 33
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    They send him out quite a bit. He’s been to Ohio twice in the past coupla months. Vocational training for manufacturing.

    I think they consider him an “asset” as they say in political professional circles :)

  34. 34
    amk says:

    glenn fucking thrush, of all the fucking bw idjits?

    what as asinine post.

  35. 35
    DanF says:

    @Baud: Exactly! Rush doesn’t see Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson as black! He sees them as … um … old guys. They’re old and we don’t need old guys running the DoJ. How dare anyone accuse El Rushbo of bigotry! How many Dominican sex-workers does he have to hire to prove otherwise to you libtards?

  36. 36
    Botsplainer says:

    Nominate race traitor Morris Dees from the SPLC.

    Make wingnut heads asplode.

  37. 37
    mb says:

    There’s really only one test for an acceptable AG nominee, imo: willingness to indict/try Bush Admin criminals. I’m fully aware that no one’s going to pass that test, but that’s my baseline.

  38. 38
    TriassicSands says:

    I’m disappointed that Holder has decided to go. Two years can be a long time — and in present day Washington it may seem like an eternity, but leaving now means — in all likelihood — a grim appointment/hearings/confirmation process that won’t do anyone any good. Except, of course, it will make all the little GOP racists, teabaggers, and other right-wing cretins jump for joy at the chance to make life misearable for Obama and Senate Democrats. Again.

    I really wish Holder had been willing to stick it out for the final two years. Somehow I doubt I’ll think his successor is a step up. That is if Obama can find someone acceptable to the Republicans.

    Maybe Holder is onto something here. He knows the Republicans hate him and the only way to get rid of him is to approve his successor. Obstruct and they get more Holder. On the other hand, Republicans are so petty and love being thugs and bullies so much, it may be that they’ll enjoy torturing Holder by refusing to approve a successor and forcing him to remain as AG. Oooh, my head hurts at the possibilities.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TriassicSands:
    When your spouse is demanding you retire for the sake of your health, and she’s speaking in her professional capacity as a doctor, it’s kind of hard to argue with her. She’s probably been after him for years to do this.

    As for Mr Holder’s successor, have the Republican party pasted up their ransom letter yet?

  40. 40
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Nobody with career goals is going to take this job; it’s radioactive. Gonna be hard to find a replacement.

  41. 41
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I’m not familiar with semi/automatic rifles. But on a handgun this would mean he had a round chambered and the safety off and it would still take one hell of a weird finger slip to get inside the trigger guard to pull the trigger hard enough to fire the gun AKA Discharge the Weapon. Are rifles really that different? And crappy?

    @Shakezula: He had a round chambered and safety off and pulled the trigger. I’ve owned guns since I was a kid and I am damned if I have any idea how you pull a trigger “accidentally”. You have to put your finger in the trigger guard (a lot of people do this, using it as a handle, and on the rare occasion when I take a new shooter out half my time is spent yelling at them to never put their finger in the trigger guard unless they are actually shooting the weapon) and touch the trigger and pull it back. I understand how this could easily happen if you’re using the trigger guard assembly as a handle, but you can hardly classify that as an “accident”. It’s dangerous and unsafe gun handling, caused by no safety training. Period.

    And am I the only one who finds it weird that this kid talks about his hand as though it acts independently of the rest of his body?

    Saying it that way is so much better (for PR and legal reasons) than saying “I was fucking around with my gun and pulled the trigger, and forgot that I had a round in it, because I’m a fucking moron and don’t check a gun every time I pick it up”.

    ETA: the NRA used to be REALLY GOOD at safety training. They gave that up and became a PAC instead, which is a damned shame, because very few non-military people get good firearms safety training anymore. Even most small PDs don’t get it anymore.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Southern Beale: blacks who might stick up for other blacks and not join you in your “you know what’s wrong with you people” conversation are extra divisive.

  43. 43

    @DanF:
    There is an extra element here. I remember growing up in the 80s in the South, and the context in which Sharpton and Jackson were presented. To the even mildly racist, Sharpton and Jackson have a noticeable accent and the speech patterns of a gospel minister, and that makes them sound stupid and crazy. To those who look at blacks and are uncomfortable, this is specifically the sound of blacks wanting revenge on whites for something that’s been over for decades or even 150 years.

    I actually kind of suspect this is why Al Sharpton is on TV news so much. He makes most of the journalist class feel that black and liberal issues can be safely dismissed as unserious. Goat, I hope I’m wrong, because it’s a terrible insult to an intelligent, insightful man who says things that need saying. Unfortunately, I’ve come to think that national level journalism is dominated by ‘I’m not racist, but…’ racists.

  44. 44
    mai naem mobile says:

    I say go with Michelle. Shes a woman, black, a lawyer, the First Lady. Let Ted Cruz make her cry. That will go over real well.
    Seriously, how about one of the retiring senators. Its only a 2 yr gig. I dont know if hes a lawyer but Rockefeller or Harkin. They would have an easier confirmation. Also too, Leslie Hagen, she was the DOJ lawyer who was fired under Bush for possibly being gay and then rehired by Holder. Im sure the Repubs want to talk about the Bush DOJ.

  45. 45
    mai naem mobile says:

    BTW, I hope it doesnt end up being Holders current deputy AG. Hes a former white collar/financial crime defense attorney. That may be why the DOJ hasnt been all that awesome on the banker busting front.

  46. 46

    Amendment: They’re not ‘I’m not a racist, but…’ racists, they’re ‘My best friend is black!’ racists. They’re much better at thinking in code words like ‘entitlements’ and ‘the race card’, and most of all they deny or ignore blatant racism. That sets the bar for racism so high that they feel safe they’ll never be accused of it.

  47. 47
    cat says:

    The Friday document dump you were alluding to
    http://www.bloombergview.com/a.....achs-tapes

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @TriassicSands:

    On the other hand, Republicans are so petty and love being thugs and bullies so much, it may be that they’ll enjoy torturing Holder by refusing to approve a successor and forcing him to remain as AG.

    If I had to guess, I’d say their thought patterns aren’t that complex. If they refuse to approve a successor, it’ll be because they can’t agree with anyone Obama nominates, not because they’re trying to torture Holder in particular. Their desire to see him gone probably outweighs any thought that they might be pissing him off more by forcing him to stay, anyway. (They fucking HATE the guy).

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Nobody with career goals is going to take this job; it’s radioactive. Gonna be hard to find a replacement.

    Attorney General of the US is radioactive? You have got to be kidding.

  50. 50
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Gonzales eventually landed on his feet, he had some trouble finding work. Which trouble was eminently deserved, just surprising given the wing nut welfare infrastructure.

    Says a lot, also too, about how the Bush family (political and actual) looks at their underlings. Poppy, Uncle Bakker, nobody could pick up the phone and get Berto (as I believe his nickname was) a face-saving sinecure. (I wonder where poor old Harriet Meyers ended up)

    I agree that this post won’t be “radioactive”, but I can see why Harris and Patrick, assuming they have both have high ambitions for future elected office, don’t want to give Crossroads and AFP the whole menu of Justice Dept activity to cherry pick scare-ads from.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes, I can understand why a person with higher political ambitions may want to avoid it, but there also are a lot of lawyers who would regard being attorney general as the capstone of a very successful career.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Thunderbird:

    The only combination worse than that is month-end, quarter-end, and year-end. Oof.

    Ah, yes, my husband gets to do that at his job, which means that there are years where he’s lucky to get all of Christmas Day off, and he finally managed to figure out a way that he can have New Year’s Day off most years and not have to do a wall-to-wall inventory that day.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    RaflW says:

    Awww, man, I’d love to see Obama nominate Al Sharpton. Even just for five minutes. He’d walk back to the podium and say “Kidding! Just wanted Rush to have a heart attack. So, now I’m nominating ____, who is boring, competent, and about to be savaged by hyenas anyway. Good afternoon.”

  55. 55
    Matt says:

    Fuck it, just nominate Al Sharpton specifically to spite the wingnuts. Given the average age, we’d probably lose 10% or so of them from shock in the first two days… ;)

  56. 56

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