The GOP's crackdown on Eric Holder: Racist?

The GOP says it's targeting our first black attorney general solely to get to the bottom of the botched Fast and Furious gun sting. Others aren't so sure

Attorney General Eric Holder talks to reporters after meeting with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa on June 19: Holder himself has said Republicans may be
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The 18-month investigation into the botched gun-running operation Fast and Furious "has finally handed House Republicans a prize they've long sought," say Jake Sherman and Reid J. Epstein at Politico: "A legal smackdown of the Obama administration." The House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on Wednesday for declining to turn over hundreds of documents related to the operation. But that's not what this is really about, suggests MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "I don't want to start too much forest fire here, but it is my instinct: Is this ethnic?" Matthews isn't the only Democrat saying Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) investigation is "motivated by racism," says Joel Gehrke at The Washington Examiner. In December, Holder himself said the House was going after him "to get at the president... both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American." Is the GOP really targeting Holder because he's black?

Liberals are playing the race card: If race is a factor here, it's because Team Obama is "baiting a trap" for the GOP, says former Rep. Artur Davis at Politico. By claiming executive privilege over the contested Fast and Furious documents, they're "deliberately escalating a conflict with congressional Republicans to drive the narrative of Republican extremism." And "Holder's race, frankly, is a convenience that abets the other favored Democratic argument of covert Republican racism." Nobody's buying it.

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