It’s come to this. From blue dresses to impeachment proceedings to threats of ousting Obama over his “fake” birth certificate to now – Republicans holding the Attorney General up for a contempt vote for the first time in history over a conspiracy theory started by a man who urged armed insurrection against the US government. A theory and accusation that Fortune labeled, “(T)he public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies.”
No, tonight is about the Democrats who are lining up to vote with the teahadist Republicans, who have aligned themselves with literal terrorists in order to destroy the Obama administration in an election year. Standing tall with the traitors to our country who can’t vote on a jobs bill but have time to chase militia members conspiracy theories are several Democrats.
Namely, at this time, Representative John Barrow (D-GA) and Representative Jim Matheson (D- UT) (more to come). Blue dogs in red states.
There are a few things these gentlemen should know before voting tomorrow, like how this entire debacle was started by a real terrorist who has advocated armed insurrection against the US (typical company for a Republican, but rather shocking for a Democrat) – Mike Vanderboegh. Fortune’s must read six month investigation of the Fast and Furious ATF “scandal” reported on the stream of information which more deeply detailed Rachel Maddow’s assertions earlier, “After the item about Terry appeared, the bloggers funneled the allegations through a “desert telegraph” of sorts to Republican lawmakers, who began asking questions.”
This is the entire birther thing on steroids. If you don’t stop these people at hello, this is where you land, with poor Darrell Issa projecting his own criminal past onto the Obama administration.
Here are just a few of the highlights from the Fortune investigation (emphasis mine):
“Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false,” says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS). A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa’s committee.
The ATF’s accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn’t actually exist…
Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn. (It’s worth noting here that one of the reasons they were stymied was Arizona’s gun laws. Irony? You bet.)
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
Issa has alleged on Fox News that Fast and Furious is part of a liberal conspiracy to restrict gun rights: “Very clearly, [the ATF] made a crisis and they are using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights.” (Issa has a personal history on this issue: In 1972, at age 19, he was arrested for having a concealed, loaded .25-caliber automatic in his car; he ultimately pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered gun.)
Issa’s claim that the ATF is using the Fast and Furious scandal to limit gun rights seems, to put it charitably, far-fetched. Meanwhile, Issa and other lawmakers say they want ATF to stanch the deadly tide of guns, widely implicated in the killing of 47,000 Mexicans in the drug-war violence of the past five years. But the public bludgeoning of the ATF has had the opposite effect. From 2010, when Congress began investigating, to 2011, gun seizures by Group VII and the ATF’s three other groups in Phoenix dropped by more than 90%.
And here we are. Oh, and let’s not forget the “What’s he got to hide!” screed.
The documents that the president asserted executive privilege over were generated after Fast and Furious was ended. Media Matters reported, “A June 19 letter sent from the Justice Department to Obama, where DOJ asked the president assert his privilege, clearly states that the request only covers documents ‘from after February 4, 2011 related to the Department’s response to Congress.’ Fast and Furious was terminated in January 2011.”
Normally I am all big tenty, and it’s true that some of these folks were primaried by a “real” Democrat and the blue dog won and here they are. In other words, if not them, a teabagger. That means if we got rid of them, we would lose their votes on things like the stimulus and the auto bailout.
On days like this, they hardly seem worth it. To have a Republican vote yes on holding Eric Holder in contempt over something that all rational people have concluded is “far-fetched” and is empirically lacking any evidence is a sad statement on that party. Clearly, Republicans don’t care about doing the right thing. It’s all about the politics of destruction for them.
But to have Democrats stand with them to vote against an honest man doing a pretty decent job at the DOJ — and certainly a hell of a better job than the Bush DOJ in which all manner of illegal activities took place – is so painful and such a deep betrayal of justice, that I’m not sure it can be forgiven. I’m not sure it should be.
I reached out to Eric Gray, Communications Director for the Democratic Party of Georgia tonight for comment on Representative John Barrow’s (D-GA) statement that he is going to vote to hold AG Holder in contempt tomorrow. I specifically linked to the Fortune investigation in the email to ask if the Congressman was aware that his position has been widely debunked. I asked if the party would continue to support Barrow in light of his vote.
Predictably, the GA state party has no comment on Congressman Barrow’s vote tomorrow. They know he’s doing what he thinks he needs to do to keep his seat, and if he goes, the district will fall to a Republican. The truth is that the national party has this problem — they are fighting for relevance and right now, that fight means big tent policies. That’s a noble cause, and in light of the corporate puppets in the Republican Party, perhaps our first priority.
But on days like this, the big tent burns. It burns hotly.
What are we to do with a party that can’t keep their members in check enough to keep them from stabbing their leaders in the back for political points? Because that’s what these gentlemen are doing.
It would be one thing if Holder actually did something wrong. But he didn’t. And this is why I’m full of contempt for these back-stabbers tonight. No one wants to be in a club full of losers who stab their own people in the back based on nothing but the fringy rantings of an ex-militia member who threatened armed insurrection against this country.
This is SO not the Obama Democratic Party. While there may be room for blue dogs, there is no room for cowards and back-stabbers.
I just can’t get behind a party that tolerates self-abuse by its own members. I will grit my teeth and bear it for the sake of stopping a complete corporate takeover of this country, but these folks should know that 2014 is going to be another day.
Let them know how you feel about their betrayal:
Click here for the list of the 31 Democratic representatives who signed the June letter, noting that they are not necessarily voting yes on contempt.