THE SEMI-CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICAL DIFFERENCES
Via Steve Benen, you probably saw the lede of this story from The Hill:
Senate Republicans have requested information about Attorney General nominee Eric Holder's role in the Elian Gonzales controversy as part of a broad probe into his tenure with the Clinton administration and potential ties to presidential scandals during that era....
While the senators have publicly stated concerns about Holder's role in the 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, the move to focus attention on the highly controversial Gonzales case indicates the confirmation of President-elect Obama's top law enforcement official will be anything but smooth....
In fact, the senators have sought information from both the Clinton Library and Mike Mukasey, the current attorney general, on a laundry list of issues.
Now, I understand why right-wingers -- at least those who want to endless re-fight the battles of the Clinton years -- want to try to make hay of the Elian incident (in which the effective kidnapping of the six-year-old by the so-called Miami Relatives was ended by a raid with lousy optics) and the highly dubious Rich pardon, but this jumped out at me:
The senators also asked for any Holder ties to pardons of 16 Puerto Rican nationalists granted by President Clinton in 1999, as well as a gun-control measure Clinton signed that year and the extension of the gun-control Brady Bill.
So it's possibly a dealbreaker if you supported the freaking Brady Bill? It's the law of the land, it passed in 1994 with 88% public approval, but Holder has to be grilled about it?
And that sinister-sounding 1999 gun law of Clinton's? Well, unless I'm sorely mistaken, no gun law was actually passed that year (the year of Columbine), but there was this horrifying piece of jackbooted thuggery:
Last May, the Senate narrowly approved modest gun control measures requiring background checks for gun show purchases and child safety locks on new weapons, banning assault weapons for juveniles, and banning the importation of large capacity ammunition clips.
... The legislation also dedicated $1 billion annually for five years for tougher enforcement of violent crimes committed by America's youth, while expanding juvenile crime prevention programs. It also allows for studies on the effects of movies, television and video games on children.
But the legislation was not passed by the House, where it was countered by a concerted lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association and its congressional allies. The House defeated the bill after it was amended to include a watered-down version of the background checks at gun shows that was backed by the NRA.
And Holder may have enabled this failed attempt to tweak America's gun laws modestly? My God! He may as well have tried to have us all shipped to gulags!
So that's what we have to look forward to. Oh, and don't you love the way the story in The Hill places working through the democratic process to modify gun laws under the rubric of "presidential scandals during that era"?