President Obama has been reluctant to look at the past. It’s not, so much, that I believe that he wants to let what happened in the past stay there, it’s that if he takes the country there he will exacerbate the split that now exists, polarizing the nation further, and he will jeopardize his current agenda. He needs people to get along, or at least act like they are getting along, in order to continue to pass things with razor-like margins.
However, his Attorney General (Eric Holder), might take him there anyway.
These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. “I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda,” he says. “But that can’t be a part of my decision.” [Attorney General May Probe Bush Torture Policy – Newsweek]
And I believe he’s right. His first loyalty must be to the Constitution and to the rule of law.
You see, one of the things that makes us the most different from any society up to this present moment is that we the people actually believe that we are all held to the same standard, to the same law. Well, we used to believe this anyway. There have been a number of cases and things that have shown us that there are some people that act as if they are above the law, but that doesn’t change the ideal or the principle.
So in this case, I believe that the AG is right in contemplating the move, but I think it goes further than that. I think that if you start walking down this road you need to be ready to look into things from both parties, not to elevate certain things to high levels simply because they come from the GOP.
If you walk down this road, which I believe he should, he should also look into things that happened in the Clinton era—pardons and other things that were cast aside in an attempt to help the country move on.
I believe it’s only right and just. However, while I’m sure the AG can wrestle with whether to go after the opposing party’s least popular President at this juncture, I’m sure he’s not wasting many brain cycles wondering what may have been hidden and buried prior to that.
There’s just no benefit or news going there, now is there?