By Dwight L. Schwab, Jr.
The Obama administration may have been as surprised as the American people last week. It was reported by Business Insider that the Rev. Al Sharpton “wants to help the White House pick the next U.S. attorney general” after President Barack Obama accepted Eric Holder’s resignation.
The reverend’s organization, the National Action Network, is “engaged in immediate conversations with the White House on their deliberations over a successor, whom we hope will continue in the general direction of Attorney General Holder.”
If that statement is considered to be true, it would be a political wonderment with the sordid reputation Sharpton carries. He is a man known for half-truths and professional race-baiting throughout the racial trouble spots in the country. It is difficult to conceive of an “adviser” who would stir the pot of controversy in Washington faster than this man. That is something a president with historic low poll numbers does not need.
The ever-ready-to-comment when a microphone is near, Sharpton said, “The resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder is met with both pride and disappointment by the civil rights community. We are proud that he has been the best attorney general on civil rights in U.S. history and disappointed because he leaves at a critical time when we need his continued diligence most.”
Huh? Who is “we?” He continues, “His accomplishments in working to protect American’s from terrorism, fighting to protect voter rights, challenging unfair sentencing, directing U.S. attorneys on fair prosecution, and being the only attorney general to visit the site of a civil rights complaint in Ferguson must be noted in American history.”
There was no word from the White House on this provocative story. Sharpton, known to frequently make lightening quick disclaimers after opening his mouth, “clarified” his stature with the “search committee.”
As his usual method of operation goes, shoot first and ask questions later. “We did not say we are in the decision-making. We are in conversation to reach out to them to have meetings about what we want to see in a successor,” the reverend said.
There had been discussion for months around Washington that Holder would leave if the Republicans took control of the Senate. Of course the public reasoning was he was tired, had previous health problems and it was time to move on to make millions in his old Washington law firm. Apparently Holder knows something the pollsters aren’t convinced of yet and announced his resignation six weeks before the midterm elections. Holder’s reasoning simply is “it was time.”
But if the Republicans do indeed take control of the Senate, now majority leader Harry Reid will be powerless while the Republicans reopen many stalled investigations from DOJ and look again at Holder’s part in “Fast and Furious.” Perhaps this is an excellent time to grab the fishing pole and exit stage left Eric.
It will be a lonely last two years in the White House for the president. Holder was Obama’s main gatekeeper and the man behind investigation slowdowns. His testimony, or lack thereof, in front of House investigating committees earned him a contempt of Congress charge that has yet to be handled.
There is no doubt Holder would like to leave his position immediately, but the president has asked him to stay until a replacement can be confirmed. With the Republicans on the verge of controlling the confirmation process, he may be there long enough to face the contempt charge. The media celebrity of Sharpton won’t make the stay a better situation. But as is the White House philosophy, don’t say ill of anyone in your base. In November they will need every one of them, including the ever-advising Sharpton.