Some Republicans think the Obama administration is the “most corrupt government in history” and that Operation Fast and Furious is a strategy to attack the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms in the United States.
This is the unusual viewpoint of the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, whom last week recommended charging Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt of Congress for not turning over all the documents requested.
No attorney general has ever been held in contempt, and this is the third time in 30 years that a legislative committee has sent this recommendation to the floor of the House. The reaction is excessive, and a reflection of the polarized partisanship that has taken over Congress.
There is clear antagonism within the GOP against Holder, who from his job has defended minority voters by opposing restrictive new state election laws, refused to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act and reaffirmed federal authority over state immigration laws.
On top of this, there is pressure from National Rifle Association lobbyists, who have helped turn the narrative from a failed investigation on arms smuggling to Mexico into an attack on the right of all Americans to possess assault weapons.
Perhaps the clearest sign of the partisan overtone of the congressional investigation was the decision to disregard the fact that Fast and Furious was based on previous operations by the Bush administration and to avoid discussing firearm laws. The inquiry has strict ideological and political boundaries.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the contempt recommendation this week, and Issa’s arguments are expected to prevail.
We hope for a bit more sanity, so the House does not make a fool of itself like another Republican-majority House that voted to impeach former president Clinton. But this is an election year, and that alone clouds any reasonable logic.