Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama picks Eric Holder as attorney general (maybe)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff is reporting that "President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition."

There is still the not-so-small matter of vetting to be done "before the selection is final."

Regardless, any "announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments."

By the way, Holder, an Obama friend and advisor, is the Clintonite behind the infamous Marc Rich pardon.

I must admit, I don't know much about him -- Holder, that is -- but I've never been terribly impressed.



1) Mark Halperin posts a release from the American Constitution Society (ACS). In a recent speech to that organization, Holder was impressive in his criticism of the Bush Administration's conduct of the war on terror (and in his argument for what is needed now):

Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the "War on Terror" have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe. For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.

2) Jeralyn Merritt notes, adding to the con side: "As U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., Eric Holder sought to raise marijuana penalties and restore mandatory minimum penalties for drug crimes." Not good.

3) Steve Benen writes that everything he knows of Holder is "positive," which may be an exaggeration. Still, he links to this fantastic speech Holder gave to the ACS in 2004.

On the strength of this speech alone, my estimation of Holder has risen immensely today. Consider, for example, this passage:

I believe that we have the capacity as a nation to meet all of these challenges. But the answers to these problems are not to be found in the conservative agenda that relies on what are already old proposals and tired rhetoric.

The solutions are contained within a new, dynamic, progressive movement that has the ability to inspire and motivate the people of this nation in the way that progressives have in the past.

I'm keeping an open mind at this point, but he may very well be the right person for the job.

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  • That now makes two contemporaries of mine who graduated my high school sitting in at Cabinet meetings...

    By Blogger Carl, at 4:03 PM  

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