Rep. Darrell Issa has come right out and said that he suspects Fast and Furious was intended to create an atmosphere for the Obama administration to push for more gun control. Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff is unpersuaded.
Eric Holder’s claim that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious is implausible. But this doesn’t mean that he and/or the president came up with the idea. As far as I know, there is no evidence as of now that either did.
Second, Obama and Holder probably would not have believed that increased violence in Mexico could lead to tougher regulation of guns in the U.S. Americans simply don’t care enough about Mexico to alter domestic policy based on what occurs there, especially when it comes to an issue as passionately and endlessly argued as gun control. Americans view violence in Mexico the way they viewed violence in Colombia – unfortunate, typical, and not our problem at any fundamental level.
He’s right, no amount of drug war violence could conceivably lead to Americans voluntarily dropping our own Second Amendment rights, but so what? Reading the American people isn’t the central question here; reading Obama and Holder is fundamental. What do they think, and to what lengths are they willing to go to pursue their policy preferences? Neither seems to think very much of any American who opposes or even questions them. We’ve already seen them push through massive bills over the objections of the majority of the voters, the 2009 stimulus and ObamaCare. Obama promised the Brady gun grabbers that he was working on some kind of gun control measure “under the radar.” What was that?
Where is the evidence that either Obama or Holder, and especially Holder, understand the American people well enough to read us in the way Mirengoff suggests? Obama/Axelrod ran a great if vague campaign in 2008 (and were abetted by the financial collapse and McCain’s lame effort), but since then Obama has embarked on one unpopular policy after another. Obama and Holder have both consistently dug themselves into holes with the American people over things that come out of their mouths — Holder, “nation of cowards”; Obama, “punish your enemies” and so forth. It’s clear from Obama’s campaign now that he has abandoned uniting the country in favor of winning by provoking his opponents into reacting in ways he can use to demonize and divide. The mid-term shellacking didn’t force him into a Clintonian rightward tilt. He has tacked hard left to keep his base motivated.
But if Mirengoff is right, then why at the time Fast and Furious was going fast and furious, did the administration trot out talking points about America’s gun rights guilt when it came to the war in Mexico? What was the point of that rhetoric, if not to get the American voter to care enough about violence in Mexico to surrender our gun rights? What. Was. The. Point?
April 2009, President Barack Obama: “This war is being waged with guns not bought here (Mexico) but in the United States.” The president stood there in Mexico, blaming US gun rights for the carnage around him. Why? I don’t mean to pick on Paul here, but it’s a question worth getting an answer to.
2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “How could anybody conclude differently? Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers, civilians. So yes, I feel very strongly that we have a co-responsibility.” Does not a “co-responsibility” require us to do something about it? What would that something be?
She left out the possibility that it could get American government agents killed. Perhaps genius mind-readers Obama and Holder didn’t foresee that possibility.
But why did say what she said in the clip? Was it political battle space prep? Did the administration’s words lead to media outlets like the Washington Post trying to use Mexico’s drug violence to get Congress to re-instate the Assault Weapons Ban?
If Obama and Holder knew, as Mirengoff asserts, that there was no way to turn Mexican violence into restrictions on American gun rights, then why were they explicitly connecting our gun rights to that violence at the time Fast and Furious was going on? What was the point? Mirengoff tries explaining the cover-up:
The administration may be motivated by the desire to cover up evidence that the Attorney General knowingly and deliberately lied to Congress.
Which begs the question: If Fast and Furious was really just a Phoenix operation, why lie to Congress about it once it unraveled? Aren’t Obama and Holder smart enough to know that it’s often not the crime, but the cover-up, that gets you? Why bother exposing yourself with a cover-up over a crime you didn’t even commit? And if Obama didn’t know anything about it, why tie himself to it via executive privilege? And what are we to make of Obama claiming to know about Fast and Furious before Holder even supposedly knew about it?
The thing about telling the truth is, you don’t have a story that you have to keep straight. Obama et al are failing at keeping their story straight.
In the early stages of Fast and Furious’ unraveling I was skeptical that the Obama administration could possibly be so evil and devious as to come up with a murderous plan to wreck the Second Amendment. But that was before their own actions started betraying them. Obama hemmed around it while Holder misled Congress and stonewalled on documents for about a year. Then DOJ out and out lied in an official letter to Congress in February 2011, and now Obama and Holder are hiding discovery on that lie via executive privilege. That’s what is driving the contempt vote. Meanwhile, neither say very much about Mexico’s violence anymore.
What’s up with that?