There is a deep chasm – no a ravine – that defines politics in Washington. It creates gridlock in place of governance, and the reason has to be more than simple partisan differences Republicans have with Democrats led by President Barack Obama.
The stark differences oozed to the surface June 20 when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 23-17 – strictly along partisan lines – to recommend that the full House hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena that he hand over thousands of documents pertaining to "Operation Fast and Furious."
The Fast and Furious operation was a gun-running scheme which allowed illegally purchased guns from the U.S. to be smuggled across the border to Mexican drug cartels, theoretically allowing law enforcement agencies to track the weapons and amass enough evidence to destroy the gangs. Many of the 2,000 weapons were "lost," Holder confessed to Congress last year. Two of the guns were found in December 2010 at the scene of the murder of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona, according to a congressional report.
Democrats accused House Republicans of engaging in an election-year "fishing expedition" with their probe. "Instead of bringing job-creating legislation to the floor, the transportation bill, they are holding the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress for doing his job," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters June 21 at her weekly press conference.
"It's really important to note how this is connected with some of their other decisions. It is no accident. It is no coincidence that the Attorney General of the United States, the person responsible for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country, that issues that relate to the civil liberties of the American people are upheld. These very same people who are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote. They are closely allied with those who are suffocating the system, unlimited special interest secret money, and they are poisoning the debate," Pelosi said.
"Instead of working with the president and Democrats in Congress to create jobs for the American people, Republicans continue to play political games," Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in a statement.
"Today's contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder by the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee represents an outrageous abuse of power. Democrats in the House support proper and appropriate Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch, but House Republicans are out of control," Clyburn said.
"Combined with their threat on the debt ceiling, the Republican delay injects not only uncertainty – that has prevailed for a while – paralysis, paralysis in our economy," Pelosi said. "Why would they do such a thing? Because it's their philosophy," she continued.
Republicans are the ones who would exploit the system for privatizing the gain while nationalizing the risk in America's financial transactions, pretty smart. They don't want any initiatives for clean air, clean water, food safety, public education, public care, public transportation, public health, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. And they certainly don't want to see this President Obama re-elected.
And so what does the average citizen say? They throw up their hands and say: "a pox on both your houses," instead of blaming the Republican culprits. And that ends up a net victory for the special deep-pocket, moneyed interests.
"These folks want a plutocracy where instead of the voice of the many, the checkbooks of the very, very few determine the outcome of the election," Pelosi said. "Again, a plutocracy. And so, what you see is diversion, diversionary tactics. Let's not talk about the transportation bill, which is only 9 days until it expires; student loans, which is only 9 days until the interest rate, the lower interest rate will expire."
"Instead let us tie the hands of the person who is assigned to make sure that the American people have the right to vote, who have the right to vote, are able to vote, and that their vote is counted. It is all tied together," Pelosi explained.
Clever strategy. The president, by proxy, looks bad, while at the same time his enemies are making it harder for him to be re-elected. Don't let anything which might improve the lives of ordinary people get enacted, so the resulting resentment of government will throw the president out of office. That's why I say the attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder are in fact a proxy impeachment of President Obama.
They never give up.