Oh, Please, Repubicans, Do It

06.27.12

The Eric Holder Contempt Vote

I just did a little segment with Geraldo for his radio show, and he mentioned (first I'd heard it) that someone named Larry Pratt, who heads the Gun Owners of America, which is the smaller but more snappish brother of the NRA (yep, more snappish than the NRA), said something about Eric Holder being guilty of murder now, or at the head of some vast conspiracy of mass murder. Two callers phoned to say in essence that this didn't sound so crazy to them.

This is what it's come to. Amazing. I'm sure Eric Holder is glad that the health-care decision comes tomorrow, because that's also the day that the House is voting to hold him in contempt, and of course it will do so, with something on the order of 20 Democratic votes, because they represent districts where the gun organizations have members and muscle. The NRA has made this one of those do or die kind of votes, and if you're wondering

What happens after that? Maybe nothing. Bush aide Josh Bolten was held in contempt of Congress in early 2008. So was Karl Rove, for that matter. They served out their terms. Of course, the opposition can play tougher if it wants to. Cornell prof Josh Chafetz had a good rundown in the WaPo recently of what would happen next, which ranged from the aforementioned nothing to this:

If the House holds Holder in contempt, it can send its sergeant-at-arms to arrest him and hold him until his contempt is purged. The House has arrested and held executive-branch officials twice in U.S. history, although the last time was nearly a century ago...

The House could also impeach Holder — and there is a good argument to be made that impeachment, which must be tried in the Senate, is the way to go after a Senate-confirmed Cabinet officer.

Either of those outcomes would be awesome, wouldn't they? Republicans perp-walking a black AG out of the Justice Department building? Or impeaching the first cabinet secretary since Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876, the only cabinet officer ever to be impeached. But that was just for petty corruption--bribes paid to two successive wives. These wives, by the way, were sisters, meaning that when TB took his beloved, he married the sister. This guy was a playah.

I think it would be healthy next year for Americans to see Republicans (if they take control of the Senate and Obama is reelected) attempt the first cabinet impeachment in 137 years, on the basis of a moonbeam-crazy conspiracy theory about how he wants American peace officers to be killed so he take away people's guns. That's what they actually believe. Or it's what they say they believe. Who knows anymore.

But this is the thing about Wingnuttia. It doesn't have to be true, or even have a chance of maybe seeming true to regular earthlings. If it hurts Obama, and if it helps fund-raising and membership, which believe you me it does, that's all the matters.