“Something is in those documents they do not want us to see.” South Carolina 4th District Congressional Representative, Trey Gowdy was calling out the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder and President Obama in front of many hundreds of good Baptist right-wingers seated in a huge First Baptist Church complex in North Spartanburg, South Carolina. The venue was called First North “Fellowship” Hall. Good place to rip Holder and Obama a new one.
I was in the crowd at the meeting entitled, “Faith & Fair Market Hearing.” Given that local favorite Gowdy and a fellow South Carolina Congressman, 5th District Representative, Mick Mulvaney were making a joint appearance, it was kind of odd that I couldn’t find any announcement in the local paper about the event, not even in the special Friday religious section, ‘Faith and Values’. There’s even a Church Calendar listing in the section.
I can’t remember a single town hall event not being publicized beforehand. And the après write-up, usually a front-page guarantee after a seminal event like holding the Attorney General in Contempt of Congress, was barely a section C-4 inky blip in the paper. Remember, Gowdy is a member of Darrel Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has played a prominent attack-dog role in the high-profile A.G./Fast and Furious flap.
But on to the main event. Gowdy and Mulvaney were Rock Star-late befitting their status as proud possessors of 95% and 96% right-wing ratings respectively from the Heritage Action ScoreCard. The Club for Growth lays a 97 on Gowdy. By the maddest of coincidences, I found myself sitting next to a pleasant couple whose daughter worked in Gowdy’s local district office. Unfortunately (for her) mom was to my direct right and every time Gowdy threw out a line of bullshit, I told the lady the true, number, facts, et al. Poor mom! To her credit she remained gracious throughout.
Roughly 15 minutes after the announced starting time, the town hall came to life. On stage were the host of a Christian talk show who would serve as moderator; Gowdy was to his left and Mulvaney on the other side. They all sat. When introduced Gowdy was accorded a wildly warm welcome. This dude is popular in low-information country.
After the legislative pair mouthed a few predictable opening remarks, Gowdy took over. Theatrically, he called 4 young people out of the audience. In order to explain ‘Fast & Furious’, he conferred an identity on each. One was a straw purchaser; (mild booing), the second ‘volunteer’ was a member of a Mexican cartel; (mild booing); next was an ATF agent – (hearty booing) and lastly, a gun dealer…(applause). Gowdy looked at the faux-ATF agent and spoke out sharply. “Turn your back! You refused to do surveillance. WHY DIDN”T YOU??? You should have stopped it (presumably the firearm) at the border!”
I had to inform mom that the entire purpose of Gunwalking, Project Gunrunner, Fast & Furious, whatever you wish to call these programs, was to track the firearms back to the bad guy drug cartels deep into Mexico, not at the border. That would have defeated the defined purpose.
I should have told her to ‘pass the word’ because Gowdy was intentionally misleading his audience. Instead, she sat there with no reaction whatsoever. Rather typical right-winger. The truth impacts them not at all.
The four unwitting accomplices returned to their seats. They had preformed their propaganda function well without knowing they were cynically being played. Issa’s pit bull was just getting warmed up. He next explained that Eric Holder was being held in Contempt of Congress by the committee (more cheering) because he had refused to turn over documents. “He did offer to let us look at the documents privately, but what good is that? You people are entitled to know.” Maybe Trey would like to tell us (as I told mom) how many documents his committee requested that he knew couldn’t be publicized legally. And what is there ‘you people’ don’t know? Sell straw-boy the gun, trace it to Mexico, get it in the hands of the drug lords, try to nail them with the goods. Now – what don’t you know? There have been at least 9 hearings and 7,600 documents delivered, not counting those from at least a half-dozen other federal agencies involved.
Gowdy then rhapsodically informed the low-information crowd that next week the house is going to vote on it. His dreams were coming true as expressed on Fox News last December. “Holder needs to go now. He can do it the quick way or he can do it the long way.” Pretty soon he’ll be emulating Cagney’s famous (and oft-times misquoted) line from 1932’s Taxi – ”Come out and take it you dirty, yellow-bellied rat or I’ll give it to you through the door.”
Gowdy went on express his concerns for the Mexican people who would “like to know why our government allowed weapons to go to Mexican drug cartels.” A Bush administration gunwalking program sent about 1,400 guns into Mexico. The Fast & Furious estimate is somewhat over 2,000. CBS News reports that in the last 5 years 68,000 guns recovered by Mexican authorities were traced back to the U.S.
Concerns? Try checking out the gun show private ‘collectors’ who are excused from doing background checks (ironically allowed under the Brady Law) and the epidemic of licensed gun dealers who knowingly sell to ‘straw’ buyers. And just for the hell of it, look into a State Department program initiated in 2006, that’s really picking up steam. Private U.S. gun manufacturers sell large quantities of nasty weaponry to Mexico. It’s called ‘Direct Commercial Sales’ and requires the stamp of approval from State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Say something Trey. What’s the matter, NRA got your tongue?
Another concern that Gowdy has expressed in other settings is that the family of Brian Terry deserves answers. Border Patrol Agent Terry was killed December 15, 2010 in a firefight in Arizona with 5 armed scumbags who were robbing illegal immigrants. Two of the guns used were tracked to Fast & Furious, though the fatal bullet was not tied to either gun because it was too badly damaged. Terry and his colleagues were outnumbered 5-4. The president wanted to add 1,000 agents. In February of last year, 2 months after the Terry killing, Gowdy voted to cut $600 million in funding to the Border Patrol, that would reduce the number of agents by 780.
Gowdy ended his Fast & Furious diatribe by explaining three possible outcomes for Holder and his Contempt of Congress citation. The last was a judge’s order that the documents be produced. The explanation was followed by his statement that there was something that ‘they’ didn’t want ‘us’ to see. I’d had enough of Gowdy’s junk jargon for one night. I bade my nice mom and pop neighbors farewell, slipped out a side door and returned to my aging Dakota where I removed the clothespin from my nose and headed down Asheville Highway.