‘Fast and Furious’ farce goes on, but Issa fails to score White House hit

If you’re unfamiliar with “Fast and Furious,” and I don’t mean the movies — congratulations. You’ve managed to sit out perhaps the most underwhelming “scandal” ever invented by the right. (Up to now I’ve refused to pay any attention to it.)

More underwhelming, even, than Whitewater, you say? Yes. It’s that bad.

“Fast and Furious” has, up to recently, been a pet cause of the far right, pushed ad nauseum by right wing talk radio and Fox News. Along with Solyndra, right wing media have obsessed over it, hoping eventually to force it into the media mainstream, the better to dirty up what has up to now been a squeaky clean Obama administration. With Darrell Issa heading the House government reform committee, and with his gavel, commanding the attention of the Beltway media, the right finally has succeeded. And with a highly partisan vote on holding A.G. Eric Holder in contempt of Congress — a fate that should have been meted out to Alberto Gonzales over torture, but for the cowardice of Democrats in Congress — they’ve gotten the media’s attention, big time.

I’ll leave the details of “Fast and Furious”; a permutation of a “gun walking” program that actually began in the George W. Bush administration, to you to delve into here.

The latest in the case is that Issa, I’m sure to his great distress, has found nothing linking the White House to the “Fast and Furious” or a supposed “cover-up.”

But while the right won’t get to drag Barack Obama into this faux scandal, Republicans are very likely to keep it going, because of this: “Fast and Furious” is the gun lobby’s cudgel, and they are happy to use it against Republicans, too. Why? Because the “Fast and Furious” meme belongs to the NRA. There’s no evidence that the advocates of this supposed scandal particularly care about the death of this border patrol officer, or about “gun walking” as a concept (after all, their guy, Dubya, started it) or about who drug cartels shoot up in Mexico. They care about preventing any form of gun control from being advocated in the United States. And they think “Fast and Furious” was a nefarious attempt to stop the flow of guns (where that flow goes, they really don’t care.)

Mother Jones explains:
Tea party activists, gun-rights fanatics, and others on the right have recently stepped up their calls for President Obama to fire Attorney General Eric Holder over his handling of the Operation Fast and Furious gun scandal. They’ve persuaded 52 members of Congress, a couple of senators, and many GOP presidential candidates to call for his ouster. Mitt Romney joined the chorus over the weekend, telling reporters in New Hampshire, “Either Mr. Holder himself should resign or the president should ask for his resignation or remove him…It’s unacceptable for him to continue in that position, given the fact that he has misled Congress and entirely botched the investigation of the Fast and Furious program.” …
… With the help of the National Rifle Association, Fast and Furious has become one of the right’s latest conspiracy theories. It goes something like this: Fast and Furious was actually a scheme by Holder to promote gun control. The NRA claims that Holder allowed American gun dealers to sell AK-47s and other powerful assault rifles so that they would be used to kill people in the Mexican drug war, thereby creating the political will for more restrictions on gun ownership in the United States.
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s fanatical leader, believes it:

“It’s the only thing that makes any sense,” LaPierre said. “Over a period of two or three years they were running thousands and thousands of guns to the most evil people on earth. At the same time they were yelling ’90 per cent… of the guns the Mexican drug cartels are using come from the United States.’

Republican members of Congress do too, to include Issa himself. In fact, Issa has been peddling this line of “reasoning” in front of the NRA’s membership. And he’s openly admitting that potential gun regulation is what he’s really looking into.
But here’s the problem: the scheme won’t work, for a number of reasons. Here are just five of them:
1. Americans don’t care much about what’s happening in Mexico. As evidenced by the paucity of stories in the national news media about the drug cartels, the underlying horror story that’s supposed to drive interest in “Fast and Furious” isn’t captivating the American public. It’s news in the states along the Mexican border, to be sure, but it’s not catching on nationally — not enough to drive interest in this “scandal.” (Why do you think “Whitewater” eventually morphed into a sex scandal involving Monica Lewinsky and other women involved with Bill Clinton?)
2. A partisan “contempt” vote in the House will read as exactly that, prompting everyone who is not a partisan Republican to ignore it. As even Brit Hume pointed out this weekend, the GOP doesn’t have the brand strength to pull off a congressional fight with the White House.
3. Eric Holder is not going to resign, and his friend, President Barack Obama, is not going to ask him to. Eventually, the braying from the NRA will be tuned out by the wider public.
4. Republicans have hurt their cause by bleeding voter suppression into their zeal to take down Holder. Democrats have noticed it, and the GOP jihad against Holder now looks like an attempt to spoil the November elections. Thanks, John Cornyn. And the NRA hasn’t helped by letting it slip that they were holding the “Fast and Furious” vote over the heads of GOP members.
5. To the extent Americans are bothering to pay attention to any of this, it’s only raising their awareness about the violence promulgated by people wielding guns, not to mention the NRA’s zeal to keep the guns flowing. And that’s exactly the opposite of what the NRA was after.


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One Response to ‘Fast and Furious’ farce goes on, but Issa fails to score White House hit

  1. rupert says:

    Darrell I(seedy) Issa….doing all he can to keep Congress’ favoriability at an all time low. If there is no scandal , make one up.

    RUSH LIMBAUGH: “Now let me tell you what’s going on here. You know the purpose of Fast and Furious, one of the purposes was, to get those guns across the border in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, have crimes committed, and then say we gotta do something about the Second Amendment. “

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