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Another reason for thinking that Obama is headed for defeat

Brian Micklethwait wrote about this “Fast and Furious” scandal some time ago here, but the story – which has not really caught fire in the MSM and has barely registered over this side of the Pond – has now gone into another level, according to Michael Graham (H/T, Instapundit):

In December 2010, Brian Terry — a former Marine and police officer turned Border Patrol agent — was working in Arizona, 11 miles from the Mexican border. He was killed in a gunfight with Mexican drug runners, and two of the AK-47s found at the scene were linked to a then-unknown program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms called “Operation Fast and Furious.”

The name is perfect, because the president wants you furious — and fast. He wants you focused on those mean ol’ House Republicans who, according to Department of Justice consultant Robert Raben, are just “doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association.” Obama wants you debating Bush-era gun programs vs. his own, the limits of presidential privilege — anything except the fact that yesterday brought us the highest four-week average of initial jobless claims for the year.

President Obama has invoked something called executive privilege to prevent certain documents emerging about this case and how it has been handled. This is pretty serious stuff, as the guys at The Volokh Conspiracy blog argue. In fact, it is unconstitutional. (Not that the POTUS seems overly bothered by such considerations). The irony is rich, of course, because it has been claimed that the administration has been more than willing to leak details of things such as the US moves to capture OBL, and other targets, to its friends in the media and even Hollywood.

Now, I am not going to pretend that the Republicans are much better, if at all. These are politicians we are talking about here. The point, though, needs to be made loud and clear to those still operating under the illusion that the White House is occupied by someone with any consideration for the limits of power. It also shows that he is not all that smart: he’s given the GOP a nice big scandal to raise hell about between now and November.

What the f**k do they teach at Harvard these days?

Update: Good comment by Mark Steyn. Very apt:

“And by the way, if you are a viewer of nightly network news, you do not know anything about this story. I think ABC did its first story on Fast & 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. But what we do know is that, in part because the media declined to run with it, Eric Holder & Co. thought they could in essence just deny to Congress the plain reality of the situation. 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. 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.”

23 comments to Another reason for thinking that Obama is headed for defeat

  • Also to be recommended is this, where, towards the end, Bob Owens says:

    “Fast and Furious is the most deadly scandal in U.S. presidential history, a plot and on-going coverup that dwarfs Watergate in both scope and depth of criminality. … Fast and Furious is also the most damning media scandal in American history, …”

    I don’t think this is much of an exaggeration, if half what is alleged about the purpose and nature of this operation is true.

  • By the way, I recommend everyone to skip my posting that JP links to in his first line, and concentrate on the comments. My posting was a mere question. Basically: WTF? The comments are the answer.

  • RRS

    What the f**k do they teach at Harvard these days?


    Interesting you refer to teach rather than to learn.

    At that stage of human maturation, the process should be learning, not being taught. Of course that concept has been lost in the guilds of the “Great” of academies.

  • Mike Giles

    I think the most important thing is the invoking of Executive Privilege. That’s invoked for communications between the President and members of his administration. BUT until this point the President was supposed to have know nothing about the entire operation. Yet he has to protect communications between him and his staff. And the Supreme Court was long ago very specific, Executive Privilege cannot be invoked to cover up wrongdoing.

  • Laird

    Mike Giles has it exactly right. The privilege is supposed to cover consultation between the President and his advisors; it protects the inner working of his decision-making process. But it has been asserted all along that Obama knew absolutely nothing about F&F until it exploded in the (non-mainstream) media last year. If this is a legitimate exercise of the privilege it means that Holder & Co. (and Obama himself) have been lying all along; otherwise it’s an illegal assertion of privilege and a blatant coverup of criminal activity by ATF and/or the Justice (sic) Department. Either way, someone is ripe for impeachment. It’s far more serious and significant than a botched third-rate burglary (i.e., Watergate).

  • RRS

    The claim of Executive Privilege is not based on Executive communication or participation. Here is the verbatim summary from the Asst A G to the Committee:

    The legal basis for the President’s assertion of executive privilege is set forth in the enclosed letter to the President from the Attorney General. In brief, the compelled production to Congress of these internal Executive Branch documents generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning the Department’s response to congressional oversight and related media inquiries
    would have significant, damaging consequences. As I explained at our meeting yesterday, it would inhibit the candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight. Such compelled disclosure would be inconsistent with the separation of powers established in the Constitution and would potentially create an imbalance in the relationship between these two.co-equal branches of the Government

    This is known as “secondary grounds.”

  • RRS

    Of course the whole gambit is for delay.

  • RRS

    In brief, the Asst A G contends that if a department has to reveal all the documentation of how it resonds to investigation, including how it came to give false testimony and fraudulent documents such requirement can come have that famous D.C. condition the Court has chosen to label:

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Chilling Effect

  • Laird

    I’m not aware that the Supreme Court has ever accepted that as a legitimate basis for Executive Privilege, though, RRS. This claim is on an entirely new basis, one invented by the Obama Administration. And one which I doubt the Court will approve, should it ever get that far (unlikely). Of course, as you state, the entire purpose is delay; I don’t believe they expect to win this. But it can easily push it past November, which is the only real objective.

    But should Obama somehow win re-election, those documents will be properly discoverable in an impeachment proceeding against Obama and/or Holder. That would be grand fun, especially if the Republicans control both houses of Congress. Should he lose the election, though, it all becomes moot.

  • Paul Marks

    Contrary to the endless lies most weapons used in murders in Mexico are not from American gun shops and gun shows.

    This is a problem for collectivists – because they WANT THEM TO BE, so they have an excuse to attack American gun shops and gun shows.

    How to solve this “problem”.


    Make sure that American weapons get in the hands of Mexican drug cartels by HANDING THEM OUT TO THESE DRUG CARTELS.

    Then when people in Mexico are murdered by drug cartel people useing these weapons – you can denounce the American firearms industry.

    The problem started when the American Border Patrol agent (Mr Terry) was murdered and people started to dig into exactly where the firearm used to kill him came from.

    “From America – which proves how evil the gun industry is!” – but where exactly in the United States? And who exactly sold the weapon to the cartel?

    “Shut up!, Shut up! Shut up!”.

    Errr no, we will not shut up – the Terry family wish to know….

    “But this was all happening under the BUSH Administration…”

    Does not surpise me in the least – that bunch of incompetant RINOs were never really in control of the government which carried on its P.C. way….

    But it continued under you Mr Holder – and you seem determined to cover things up.


    By the way the reason that the murder rate is so high in Mexico is “gun control” (as well as the insane “war on drugs”).

    Ordinary people are not allowed to buy firearms.

    So the criminals (and the government) have a monopoly – and kill anyone they want to (often just for kicks).

    Check the murder figures in El Paso Texas (overwhelmingly hispanic) with the Mexican city just over the little stream.

    The only difference is the LACK of “gun control” in El Paso – and the murder rate is a tiny fraction of what it is in the city just yards away.

    In El Paso if you smash down someone’s front door (to rape their wife and daughters and to then cut their heads off for fun) you are likely to get shot.

    So you do not do that.

    “Call the police” – who do you think the police are in Juarez?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Should he lose the election, though, it all becomes moot.

    Posted by Laird at June 22, 2012 10:09 PM

    Not necessarily. There are significant civil and criminal issues that could affect Obama, Holder et al even if they’re out of office. And don’t overlook the possibility of Mexican charges.

  • M Cooper

    Well, the Prez needs to win the bigger election as well (Congress) in order to avoid impeachment.

    The Dems wanted to make us believe that 90% of weapons used in crime in Mexico come from the US which means we need stricter gun control laws here in the US. They still seem to think they can push that propaganda lie, but (based on what we have seen from these clowns thus far) I think they are just fools headed for a big fall.


  • RRS


    You are quite right that the criminal contempt proceedings will fail and what will be left is the civil requiring at least in camera production, which by that time would be a moot issue.

    On the otherside, I have read Mukasey’s Opinion Letter to GWB, on the “deliberation privilege,” (non criminal issues) and he made the case.

    This is court-made (balancing) law.

  • RRS

    People tend to overloook the ambush of two DEA Agents, one killed, in which “walked” guns were involved but could not be positively ID’d as the killer.

  • Disillusionist

    Paul Marks: “But this was all happening under the BUSH Administration…”

    Does not surpise me in the least – that bunch of incompetant RINOs were never really in control of the government which carried on its P.C. way….

    But it continued under you Mr Holder – and you seem determined to cover things up.

    The (vitally important) difference, however, is that Wide Receiver (the Bush administration program) was carried out in cooperation with the Mexican government, and actually attempted to track the weapons crossing the border. Fast & Furious was carried out in complete secrecy from the Mexican Government, and attempted to basically funnel weapons illegally to Mexican drug runners, so that the guns left at crime scenes could then be traced back to US gun dealers. As someone on NRO (I think it was Andrew McCarthy) pointed out, this operation REQUIRED the deaths of Mexican nationals. How this is distinguished from an act of war against Mexico is not at all clear to me. But then, I didn’t go to Harvard.

  • Alisa

    Indeed, Disillusionist. I have never been a fan of Bush, but intentions, consequences and plain old facts do matter.

  • momo

    1) Because of his race, Obama is impeachment-proof.
    2) If Obama loses in November, you’ll see a massive number of blanket pardons in January.
    Legally nothing will be done about this.

  • Dave B

    Jeremy Warner suggest that a falling oil price is on track to produce an economic boom.


    That might be the best predictor of the US election.

  • Laird

    Re Dave B’s comment: Yes, oil prices have definitely come down, and we’re already seeing the effect of that in retail gasoline prices. And I agree that lower oil prices will help stimulate economic activity. The problem for Obama is that it’s too little, too late. It won’t show up in any meaningful way in general retail prices, or GDP, or givernmental revenues (i.e., the deficit), and most importantly in the employment figures, until long after November. It will be a boon to whoever is in the Oval Office after January, but not to the current occupant. He’ll have to run on the present economy, and his record, both of which are dismal.

    (Oh, and as to Warner’s article, while I generally agree with his observations his comment about oil being “both inflationary and deflationary at the same time” simply demonstrates that he doesn’t understand either term. Readers would be wise to ignore that sentence.)

  • Paul Marks

    Good point Disillutionist -and Alisa.

  • Julie near Chicago

    If anybody’s still watching–I noticed this comment to the Telegraph article (caveat–I’m not so sure The Donald is such a Great Businessman. He might be fairly good weasel, however–Kelo & like that). OTOH, perhaps he’s not exactly the incumbent’s greatest fan….


    06/23/2012 06:05 PM

    Take this for what it’s worth.
    Donald Thrump, who knows a little about doing business, last week told reporters that Comrade Obama had made a deal with the Saudies to increase oil production to lower the cost at the pump, in order to help Comrade Obama get re-elected.