Besieged Attorney General Eric Holder (“Besieged” is almost part of his official title these days) told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that he’s not sure whether he would remain in his post in a second Obama administration. If he did leave, it would deprive conservatives of a favorite punching bag.
Holder has antagonized the right on a litany of subjects, from Fast and Furious to the New Black Panther Party to hobnobbing with Al Sharpton to his lecture about how Americans are cowards in discussing race.. Unhinged conservative Internet commenters constantly complain about Holder’s descriptions of African-Americans as “my people” and The Wall Street Journal recently ran an over-the-top editorial accusing Holder of pursuing a political “racial incitement strategy.”
Yet some of Holder’s actions also give pause to those of us who prefer an attorney general who keeps a lower political profile.
Maybe because I cut my teeth as a journalist in the Watergate era, my own ideal AG was Ed Levi, the former University of Chicago president recruited by Gerald Ford to restore the Justice Department’s reputation after that scandal. Others, I know, lean to the Bobby Kennedy model of an attorney general who is deeply invested in the political agenda of the president (even if he’s not related to him). The problem with the AG-as-confidant approach is that it also describes John Mitchell, Ed Meese and Alberto Gonzales.