A Momentous Decision

Posted: Jul 12, 2009 12:48 PM
In a puff piece about Attorney General Eric Holder, Newsweek praises the "attractive, poised, and uncommonly elegant" Cabinet officer and his wife, before musing on the "tension that the best of his predecessors have confronted: how does one faithfully serve both the law and the president?"

All this big, sloppy kissing is a windup to a piece focusing on the fact that Holder may -- contrary to the assurances of his boss -- insist on trying to investigate Bush officials for "torture."

Holder insists he isn't focusing on the politics of such a decision.

That must be true, because there's no way this can end up to the benefit of Democrats in general, or the Obama administration in particular.  If Holder insists on going ahead, it will, at the least, feed a perception that Obama's lieutenants are desperate to dig into the past as a distraction -- an effort to avoid any focus on just how little any of their "hope and change" has accomplished.

In any case, it will make life hard on the President.  It will lock up the Congress in partisan gridlock, assuring less of his agenda will be enacted.  And it will be impossible for him to "vote present" and wash his hands of responsibility for the investigations and/or prosecutions.  After all, the Attorney General serves at his pleasure.  So in such a case, the President can either infuriate his left flank by firing Holder, or he can disgust the rest of the country by appearing to want to rehash old controversies for political gain rather than focusing on the tough problems that face the country now.

Newsweek can bring on all the sycophany it wants.  If he decides to open this can of worms, Holder's going to need all the fans he can get.
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