With a showdown between the U.S. House of Representatives and Attorney General Eric Holder looming and a possible contempt of Congress vote tomorrow, power brokers on the left appear to have progressed from lamenting the lack of black support for Holder to outright accusing his political opponents of racism.
On his Tuesday MSNBC program, in a segment with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Leadership Conference president Wade Henderson, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews came to Holder’s defense and attacked the motives of his adversary, Republican House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa.
“I don’t want to start too much as far as fire here but it is my instinct,” Matthews said. “Is this ethnic, Mr. Mayor?”
According to Brown, there was indeed an “ethnic flavor” to the showdown developing in Congress, reminiscent of the “stop and frisk” police maneuver — which critics have charged is regularly abused by racist police officers.
“I think it has some ethnic flavor to it,” Brown said. “It will be interpreted by some in that vein. And you have to be very careful in a democracy that you don’t give people the opportunity to make that case factually, and what Darrell Issa is doing is in fact giving some individuals the opportunity to make that case and to compare it to a stop and frisk.”
Matthews concurred, but said that sentiment was relegated only to certain factions within the GOP.
“Well, I just did it because — it smells like it to me, and I think there is a disdain on the part of some Republicans, certainly not all — certainly not Boehner,” Matthews said. “But some of them down in the rank and file, in the red-hot end of the team, that do talk down to the president and his friends. They talk down to them.”
Later in his “Let me Finish” segment, Matthews declared Issa was merely fulfilling a campaign pledge and argued his allegations lacked substance.
“There’s something unseemly about the way certain Republicans are going after Attorney General Holder,” Matthews said. “They are demanding he emptying his pockets, demanding he submit himself to a body search by a member of Congress, who even before he took the oath of office himself for this Congress promised to spend his entire time using the subpoena power to hurt Obama. As he put it himself, ‘I want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks. … We own everything,’ Darrell Issa said.”
“Armed with a subpoena power, he was going to spend his time hauling Obama people before him,” he continued. “So, here we go — a party in the Congress that does about nothing to create jobs or to help people without jobs decides the best way to do their job is to shower the Obama administration with subpoenas, make headlines and hopefully skewer someone close to the president — in this case Eric Holder.”
Matthews then elaborated on his “stop and frisk” analogy.
“It smells like Darrell Issa has one goal, get Holder under the lights and go through his pockets,” he said. “It looks like stop and frisk. The mere act of which shows who is the boss and gets to let you go your way, who says you’re clean. Well, that’s what this subcommittee is up to, trying to make noise so people think they are doing something up there on Capitol Hill, which everyone knows that they are not.”