Wednesday, June 20, 2011 will go down in history as the day that was the beginning of the end for President Barack Obama’s presidency. With the president’s execution of executive privilege regarding United States Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal, Obama has more than raised the curtain of doubt regarding his self-proclaimed transparent administration.
The purpose of executive privilege is to keep information that could be a threat to national security under lock and key. There are times, unfortunately, that a president orders his executive privilege power to hide incriminating evidence against himself or his administration for the sake of getting away with breaking laws.
Many questions are raised about “Fast and Furious” that could easily have been answered by Eric Holder simply following through with his promise to release subpoenaed documents to the United States Congress. The Congress needs to see the documents to comprehend the trail of events which led to U.S. guns ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The guns were found in the possession of persons who committed massive murders in Mexico and, quite unbelievably, the murder of an American border patrol agent.
These deadly criminal occurrences deserve total explanation – complete answers – but Attorney General Holder has now refused to give the documents that tell the story. Additionally, there are contradictions among the dates in which Holder said he knew some information surrounding the “Fast and Furious” case and when he said he didn’t. These contradictions result in no less than lying to the U.S. Congress and are aptly alleged to be acts of perjury.
Now that President Obama has completely entrenched himself in Holder’s controversy, the scrutiny of what Obama said and when he said it is emerging as well. Like Holder’s statements, Obama’s statements – in which he previously said he knew nothing – don’t add up to future statements in which he indicated he did know some information related to the case.
The withholding of documents and the order of executive privilege strongly gives the appearance that both men are attempting to cover up wrongdoing. Obama is passing up a perfect opportunity to show transparency in his presidency. The natural assumption is that the cost to his presidency is too great for the truth to be unveiled.
Those who are calling “Fast and Furious” nothing less than “Watergate-esque” are right on the mark. The comparisons of “Fast and Furious” to former President Richard M. Nixon’s Watergate scandal are incredible. The first comparison to come to mind is that those who supported Nixon and his administration were quick and persistent in saying that Nixon was innocent – without basis for their beliefs. Those who insisted that he was innocent without questioning only delayed justice being served.
In the past year, those who support Obama and his administration are also very quick and persistent in saying that Obama is innocent – without basis for their beliefs. Again, not allowing questions to be asked and not demanding answers are only delaying justice.
The proof of the case exists in the hundreds of pages of documents which Holder refuses to show to Congress, and the president has endorsed Holder’s so-called cover-up by invoking executive privilege.
Obama knows that executive privilege is a non-transparent and questionable move as he has strongly criticized such actions previously when they were administered by former President George W. Bush. As an Illinois senator, Obama spoke vehemently against executive privilege.
As it stands now, the United States’ House of Representatives committee is to be applauded for having voted Holder in contempt on Wednesday. Next week, the full House will vote on the matter as well – with likely the same outcome. The matter does not need to go to the Senate.
Were there a crystal ball regarding Obama and “Fast and Furious,” there would likely be a vision depicting the end of the Obama presidency – preceded by a number of presidential pardons. Hopefully, the “Fast and Furious” crisis will be resolved within the next five months so that the nation won’t be dragged down via another president’s chaotic Watergate-esque term.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.