On Hugh Hewitt’s Thursday radio show, National Review columnist and author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” Mark Steyn reacted to the events in recent days surrounding the Operation Fast and Furious scandal and the back-and-forth the Obama administration has had with Republican House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa.
According to Steyn, moves by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder demonstrate their attitude toward the American system of government.
“I’m not surprised — I think there is a kind of blithe contempt that Obama and Eric Holder in particular, have for the checks and balances,” Steyn said. “And by the way, I don’t attach a lot of significance to the sort of niceties of checks and balances. But I would say that as a general rule in free societies, the restraints on power are as much social as anything. They depend on those in power observing a kind of etiquette and deference to codes and conventions. And if you hold, basically, the entire history of the United States until you took power in contempt, which is what Eric Holder and Barack Obama do, I believe, then they don’t have that deference and discretion towards the codes and conventions, and the result is what we’ve seen in the last few days.”
Steyn noted the lack of mainstream media coverage of these incidents, which he said a scandal itself.
“If you are a viewer of nightly network news, you do not know anything about this story,” he said. “I think ABC did its first story on Fast and Furious just last week, or a few days ago, for about 20 seconds. You would never have known that in fact citizens, many dozens, hundreds of citizens of America’s neighboring nation, Mexico, have been killed with guns provided for them by the United States government.”
“That ought to be a national scandal, but it’s not, because the media have declined to run with it,” he continued. “But what we do know is that, in part because the media declined to run with it, Eric Holder and company thought they could in essence just deny to Congress the plain reality of the situation.”
However, with the president’s use of executive privilege, Steyn said it raises questions of how involved Obama is himself with the story.
“What’s interesting about the assertion of executive privilege is whether Obama’s participation in this sorry story is absolutely direct, whether it concerns the operation, the knowledge that the operation had gone screwy, or even whether it’s just a kind of philosophical signing off on the operation,” Steyn explained. “But the point is that this very much does confirm the, I think tends to confirm the worst case narrative, that in respect of this particular story, the government is rotten and is lying about it. Senior cabinet officials are lying about it, and there is now a question mark over whether the president is also lying about it.”
Steyn added that there are broader implications if Holder is indeed a liar, since he is the chief law enforcement official with significant duties. (SEE ALSO: Did Obama previously use executive privilege to bail out Holder?)
“I think the president also makes a bet that nobody cares, that for every person who understands that the president and his attorney general are liars on this — and by the way, it’s no small thing for the attorney general of a nation to be a liar,” Steyn said. “I mean, if you’re in my shoes, I mean, you can call me a pedant on this, but I think that’s rather worse than the Commerce secretary, or the Secretary of the Interior being a liar. In other words, we’re talking about the guy who is responsible for upholding the integrity of the nation’s laws, and in a sense, the man who embodies the idea of the United States as a nation of laws being a proven liar. He should resign. He should be gone.”