Holder behaving badly


Filed Under Congress on May 15 

Somedays I almost feel sorry for Attorney General Eric Holder. Then I remember that he’s Eric Holder and the feeling quickly goes away.

One of the myriad responsibilities of the head of an executive branch agency is that of going up to Capitol Hill and explaining your agencies conduct – or mis-conduct as the case may be – to the people who pay the bills. Those people are commonly referred to as the US Congress. I believe it was the late William Buckley who mused that he’d rather be governed by the first 535 names in the phone book than by the US Congress, but as that’s the system we have we get to live with the Congress we have.

One of the main complaints I hear emanating from the White House is that about the increasing coarseness of political discourse. As a student of history I dismiss this complaint as unfounded. That said, one would expect those representing the Executive Branch to set an example of class and good behavior when on the political stage.

Unless you’re Eric Holder.

Today Mr. Holder took his seat before Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). His job  there was to answer questions posed by the committee. Sometimes these exchanges can get quite heated and today was no exception. Issa took the opportunity to lambaste Holder for the Department of Justice’s penchant for ” purposely and repeatedly keeping information from Congress.” Bear in mind that this assertion is not in dispute. The DOJ’s cooperation in regards to the Fast and Furious scandal has been nothing short of reprehensible – and that’s just one example of many.

Now, instead of taking his licks like a man, Holder let loose with a personal attack the likes of which I cannot remember. Said the sitting Attorney General to Chairman Issa:

No, that’s what you typically do. That is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It’s unacceptable and it’s shameful. (Video Link)

Say what you want about Issa, the man took a shot at the head of an executive branch agency about the behavior of the agency. That’s a Congressman engaging in congressional oversight of the Executive Branch. That is his duty as a member of Congress. Holder’s job is to answer for the actions of his agency. Instead of doing that he attacked the committee chairman on a personal level.

Eric Holder is not charged with being the arbiter of what is “inappropriate”, “unacceptable”, or “shameful” with regards to the US Congress. He is charged with running the Department of Justice in an appropriate and acceptable manner – something he has yet to do.

It is an absolute failure of leadership that this man continues to hold the title of America’s chief law enforcement officer. Do I expect the President of the United States to hold the Attorney General responsible for his disrespectful actions on Capitol Hill? No. if past behavior is indicative future actions, Obama will find out about this next week on the evening news.