If you want to see one of the more bizarre Washington events in recent memory, watch this CSPAN video of Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech at the Great Hall inside the DOJ headquarters yesterday. Wooden in delivery, and defensive in content, the Attorney General assembled the entire Department of Justice (through the use of the JTV television network) and played naked political defense. Patrick Poole has this national security related take on the odd address.
Jerry Markon at the Washington Post has this report on Holder’s defensive play, noting in particular: “He also took on critics who have questioned his efforts to revamp the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which internal watchdogs say had been politicized under the George W. Bush administration. Conservatives have accused the Obama administration of playing politics of its own by dismissing most of a voter-intimidation lawsuit that Bush officials had filed against members of the New Black Panther Party.”
A few other highlights.
I count at least four references to his long career at DOJ. Much of the speech is all about Eric. He claims to have healed the Department and compared his tenure to when he joined the Department in the post-Watergate era when Edward Levi was Attorney General. The audacity to make this subtle swipe at the Bush administration is astounding.
Holder blows the dog whistle and says he “reinvigorated the Department’s traditional missions.” To the civil rights industry and the activists, this translates as “no more New Black Panther cases.” Holder even delivers laughlines: “the Civil Rights Division is again open for business.” Funny.
Using a quote from Attorney General Edward Levi from the 1970’s, he says “the agenda of the Department of Justice is boundless.” Yikes. Like man-perms and pet rocks, some things are best left back in the 1970’s.
He outright makes things up, by saying career officials have the authority to make hiring decisions. This is not true, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez still maintains hiring authority for attorneys. Don’t expect the media or the sycophants to dig deeper on this whopper. But the hiring memos are in plain sight online.
Holder says he isn’t going anywhere. Thank goodness.