On the one hand, it was a brilliant move: schedule the vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt on the same day as the Supreme Court hands down its ruling on Obamacare. If the law is overturned, even in part, it’s a double whammy against the Obama administration and weakens his chances for re-election. Of course, it was a gamble as well. Should the Court uphold Obamacare in its entirety, the Fast and Furious witch hunt that Republican Darrell Issa (R-Salem) has wasted over a year of tax payer time and money trying to fashion into a scandal, would end on a fizzle.
The “scandal” has yet to catch on outside of the right wing media bubble that has been fermenting in its own juices since 2011. Partly because of a lack of evidence, partly because a lack of reality, the “scandal” has been limping along, only kept alive by the subpoena power of Issa. After exhausting all other avenues of attack, Issa started to demand documents he knew he did not have legal access to, knowing full well that Holder would have to refuse. Suddenly, after 18 months of total cooperation, almost a dozen pointless hearings and multiple fishing expeditions involving thousands of documents, Attorney General Eric Holder was an “uncooperative witness” and Issa would be forced to hold him in contempt. Even President Obama was forced to intervene and claim executive privilege on some of those documents.
Of course, the right wing exploded with indignation that a president that wasn’t a Republican would do such a thing. What was Obama hiding? What did he know? How quickly can we impeach him? All very serious questions from very non-serious people. The NRA made sure to threaten House Representatives by letting them know that this vote would be “scored,” meaning that anyone that didn’t vote against Holder could expect to have a lot of money spent on negative campaign ads against them. The people have spoken! And by “people” I really mean gun manufacturers and Walmart because nothing says “freedom” and “democracy” like open extortion.
5The vote split along mostly party lines (254 to 67) with 18 Democratic Representatives cravenly caving in to this fantasy to vote with the GOP. The majority of the Democrats walked out in protest. An unusual move that highlights the ridiculous nature of the motion. One Republican (apparently with cajones of steel) voted against the motion.
Alas for Issa and his phony “scandal,” the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare. President Obama has won a major victory and the Fast and Furious “controversy” joins Solyndra and Birtherism on the scrap heap as yet another “scandal” generated by the right wing that failed to stick. Sure, it will still rocket around the right wing blogosphere but no one outside of it will care. Today’s contempt vote is symbolic, and will be nothing more than another talking point among people too uneducated to know that Obama isn’t a Muslim and that he lowered taxes. So really, nothing new to report.
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