Truth or Dare
May 20, 2009
BARACK OBAMA is trying to split the difference on torture. He wants to move forward—no messy dwelling on the Bush-Cheney era—except that he’ll look backward if forced. There will be no independent commission to hold top-ranking officials politically accountable. But, if Attorney General Eric Holder wants to prosecute the Bush lawyers who defended the legality of waterboarding—John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury—well, the president won’t stand in the way. What does Obama gain by this approach?
Free Ted Stevens!
April 01, 2009
Eric Holder just did. From NPR, which broke the news that the Justice Department is seeking to void the corruption conviction against the former Alaska Senator: With more ugly hearings expected, Holder is said to have decided late Tuesday to pull the plug. His decision is said to be based on Stevens' age — he's 85 — and the fact that Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.
Thernstrom On Holder's "conversation"
February 27, 2009
Some of you already know how much I admire Abigail Thernstrom's work...and the work she has done with her husband Steve, both old friends of mine from the New Marxist Study Group (or something like that) at Harvard in the early sixties. She has now written a characteristically withering piece about Eric Holder's all-too famous speech to his associates at the Justice Department. As I indicated earlier, I was surprised by the callowness of his talk. I expect more analysis from him and less sloppy rhetoric from him. But, as usual, Abby has the facts, and the facts are indisputable.
Defining 'Nation of Cowards' Down
February 19, 2009
So what does our new Attorney General Eric Holder mean when he says that we are "a nation of cowards" for avoiding "frank conversations" about race? The meanings we intend often correspond only fitfully to dictionary definitions. If someone asks “Do you have the time?” technically it would be answering the question to just say “Yes” and walk on.
Earth To Eric Holder
February 19, 2009
I like Eric Holder. And, no, despite what Peter Wehner wrote in today's Contentions, Holder is not responsible for the pardon given Marc Rich in the late dusk of the Clinton administration. This was Bill Clinton's smarmy move, and his alone.But I, too, am mystified by Holder's remarks, reported by the Associated Press and CNN today, basically denying the progress that Americans have made in their relentless and ongoing march to racial equality.
December 24, 2008
What does it take to get tagged as a shameless status-seeker in a town fueled by the eternal quest for access to power? Ask Beth Dozoretz, the former Democratic National Committee finance chair with a legendary affinity for snuggling up to the rich and powerful. (She asked pal Bill Clinton to be godfather to her now-ten-year-old daughter, Melanne.) It seems that, in the waning days of the presidential race, Dozoretz found herself at a dinner party with Michelle Obama. Not one to miss an opportunity, Dozoretz slipped Mrs.
Can Holder Speak Truth To Power?
December 02, 2008
Ezra Klein, building on this Richard Cohen column about Eric Holder's role in the Marc Rich Pardon, says no: I'm not one who thinks the attorney general should be some sort of lone renegade within the administration, but he should feel empowered to aggressively push back against abuses of presidential power. Holder's history offers little evidence of that sort of temperament. I think these are very legitimate concerns.
If You Read Anything About Eric Holder
November 18, 2008
As TNR wrote in its "Obama List," it looks as if Eric Holder will become the next attorney general. The best Holder reading I've come across is an intimate Washington Post profile from 1991, when he was a newly-minted judge in the D.C. Superior Court. Frankly, it reads like an episode of The Wire. A juicy excerpt: Comfortable is not the only feeling he inspires. "He's the judge the most lawyers would like to date," says a public defender, a gleam in her eye. Holder even gets mash notes from jurors.