They Don't Know Halfway
After shrugging off Republican caterwauling about the Holder nomination, the only one the right seems to have any interest in making a stink over, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy is pushing back the hearing date a week, a kind of compromise.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will delay confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder after all -- accommodating Republican concerns that the appointment was being rushed and more vetting of Holder's resume was needed.
In an announcement from his Senate office on Monday afternoon, committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the hearings would be moved back from January 9 to January 15, giving Republicans more than "30 days from today" to consider Holder's qualifications.
I sincerely hope that Leahy doesn't think this will calm anybody on the other side of the aisle. In fact, there will be some talk that this "proves" the "bipartisan concern" with the nomination, and the perception that it's in trouble, and that Holder will have to endure even more scrutiny, perhaps a request for multiple confirmation hearings, etc. This is not necessarily about blocking Holder from becoming the Attorney General but elongating the process and throwing up doubt. They've de-mothballed Karl Rove to lead the effort:
On Dec. 1, just one day after Holder’s nomination, Karl Rove told the Today Show that Holder’s record “will be examined” because he was the “one controversial nominee“:
ROVE: He was deeply involved as the Deputy Attorney General in the controversial pardon of Marc Rich. … I think it’s going to be clearly examined, if for no other reason that people want to lay down markers that that kind of behavior is inappropriate. … But again, there will be some attention paid to this [...]
Today on MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Show, Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly revealed that Rove is indeed “helping lead” the effort against Holder:
CONNOLLY: Word on the street is that Karl Rove is going to be helping lead the fight against Eric Holder when his nomination for Attorney General heads up to the Senate.
This is a textbook partisan ploy, designed to engender anger throughout the base and a whiff of illegitimacy to the Justice Department. Of course, that agency is already hopelessly compromised, so any effort to improve it or, ye gods, fire those burrowed deep inside the Department who are responsible for the politicization of the past few years, will then have a counterpoint in the figure of Holder, no matter how ridiculous it may appear.
It shouldn't be any surprise that the one cabinet post Rove is being tapped to sully and turn into a partisan brawl is the one that happens to be investigating him. There may or may not be merit to the idea that Rove wants to provide cover for Bush's pardons, but the Siegelman case threatens Rove where he lives, and he desperately needs to paint it as the rantings of a partisan liberal Justice Department. In fact, painting justice itself as partisan, putting it into the political arena, serves Republican needs in a variety of ways, devaluing the rule of law as just another he-said/she-said situation.
I think Leahy did the wrong thing by listening to these jackals. They have no interest in being mollified.