Last week, the president's lap dog blew his dog whistle (a dog whistle, if you didn't know, is coded language intended for a special constituency).
Speaking to the National Action Network, Atty. Gen.
Now, bear in mind the audience. The National Action Network is
For the record, there's nothing special about the rough time Holder has received. Forget Harry Daugherty of Teapot Dome fame or John Mitchell, who went to prison. Ed Meese's critics had "Meese Is a Pig" posters printed up. Janet Reno and
The best recent comparison is probably Alberto R. Gonzales,
Holder has deserved all he's gotten. He earned his contempt of
Even inside the White House, Holder is considered too political. "Holder substitutes his political judgment for his legal judgment, and his political judgment isn't very good," says an unnamed White House official, according to the Washington Post's David Ignatius.
Holder's remarks come at a convenient time. In a widely discussed New York Magazine essay, Jonathan Chait argues that race relations have gotten worse under Obama. Chait believes that liberals have become obsessed with conservative racism as the real explanation for everything Republicans do. Meanwhile, he says conservatives have cocooned themselves in a kind of righteous victimhood, where racism is a relevant issue only when conservatives are falsely accused of it (it's a fair point that conservatives should be more conspicuously concerned about racism).
It is an at times brave and insightful, if not uniformly persuasive, essay. The Holder episode casts light on one of his arguments. According to Chait, Obama has steadfastly refused to make race a national issue, even as the ugly racial conversation has raged. "In almost every instance when his blackness has come to the center of public events, however, [Obama] has refused to impute racism to his critics," Chait writes.
That's largely (though not entirely) true about what the president has said himself. But it is manifestly untrue about what he has allowed to be said on his behalf. He didn't mind the racial theater congressional Democrats put on when black congressmen marched through
Republican presidents are routinely expected to denounce outrageous comments and dog-whistle comments by members of their own party, never mind members of their Cabinet. Not Obama. His feigned aloofness is his exoneration, even as racial politics get ever more poisonous.