If you want a good example of how ego and a false sense of self-importance can blind one to reality, just look at former Attorney General Eric Holder pondering running for president in 2020.
A Holder candidacy will bring into sharp focus just how racially divisive and corrupt the Obama administration was.
On May 28, 2013, I wrote in this space that it was “time for… Holder to resign” because he had “lost credibility and put the Department of Justice under a cloud.”
Here are just a few of the Obama era ghosts that a Holder candidacy would bring out of the closet: He was the first attorney general and cabinet official in history to be found in contempt of Congress in the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal; fueled racial divisiveness; refused to appoint a special prosecutor in the IRS scandal; and, sought phone records of reporters.
One of Holder’s biggest legacies as Obama’s "wingman" was playing the race card for him and the president at every opportunity. One of the tragedies of the Holder-Obama era is that instead of attempting to heal racial wounds of the past, the nation’s first black Attorney General and first black president pulled the scabs off.
A hint of things to come was when Holder dropped a case the Justice Department had already won against members of the New Black Panther Party for intimidating voters in front of a Philadelphia polling place in November 2008. Do you think for a minute he would have dropped a case where KKK members had blocked a polling place?
He pulled the race card so many times that were few cards left in the deck.
Speaking before Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, in 2014, Holder all but said that his treatment before the House Judiciary committee was race based: "You look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated . . . by a House committee . . . What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"
In an ABC-TV interview that same year, he said that for some people, there was a racial component to the “certain level of vehemence… that’s directed at me…at the president...”
On the IRS scandal, where conservative groups were subjected to intrusive and inappropriate scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status, he refused to appoint a special prosecutor stating that it was not necessary with “career people” and FBI agents “doing a good, professional job” investigating the situation.
That so-called investigation eventually cleared the IRS but was reversed by the Justice Department. Holder then said the Trump administration was wrong to have apologized to tea party groups targeted in the scandal.
If this is not enough to bring back a few of the Obama administration’s ghosts, how about Holder’s DOJ going after the press by obtaining telephone records of reporters at the Associated Press; and, signing off on a search warrant that targeted Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails; and, accused him in an affidavit of being a possible criminal "co-conspirator" for pursing his First Amendment rights as a journalist.
The action prompted quick rebukes from AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt and then Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
All of this baggage will drag a Holder candidacy down like a two-ton anchor and cause other 2020 hopefuls to either disavow his actions or condone them — a no win choice.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.
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