David Brooks Defends Republicans Partisan Witch Hunt On Fast And Furious

From this Friday's PBS Newshour, in case anyone thought Fox was the only place where no matter what, IOKIYAR and if you engage in a political witch hunt, you will be given cover for your actions, look no further than The New York Times overpaid
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From this Friday's PBS Newshour, in case anyone thought Fox was the only place where no matter what, IOKIYAR and if you engage in a political witch hunt, you will be given cover for your actions, look no further than The New York Times overpaid Villager and turd polisher of all things Republican, David Brooks and his regular weekly appearances on The Newshour on PBS.

Brooks excuses Issa as "doing what they're supposed to be doing" with his committee's attack on Attorney General Eric Holder, and justifies the committee having political gain as a motivation with this Fast and Furious investigation, while ignoring the fact that that Issa has used his chairmanship for issues other than going after actual corruption, which he's ignored time and time again, if he doesn't think his party can benefit from their actions politically and that anything he's actually bothered to have hearings on has been purely political.

Sorry Mr. Brooks, but you can make all the excuses you want, but that's not how these committees are supposed to work. And as a member of the media, opinion based or not, your job should be holding these people accountable for their actions, not making excuses for them and calling it playing politics as usual when they don't do their jobs, and treating the public as though they should just be accepting of how broken and corrupt our political system is right now.

David Brooks... proof that if you're willing to carry enough water for Republicans and make their horrible ideas palatable to the American public, you'll be allowed to continually fail upwards with ever larger pay checks as a reward.

Transcript below the fold.

JEFFREY BROWN: And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome back.

If it's Friday, you're here, right?

MARK SHIELDS: That's right.

JEFFREY BROWN: Eric Holder, congressional committee voted to recommend a contempt citation against the attorney general. John Boehner says he's going to bring it to the full House next week, although he hasn't specified a date, right?

What is going on, Mark?

MARK SHIELDS: What is going on is a really dubious policy that opened up a lot of questions called Fast and Furious, which basically ran guns out there with the expectation, full expectation that they would be bought by straw purchases, and then end up in the custody of gangs' members, and that they could then be traced and used in prosecutions for more serious crimes than just buying guns.

It went awry. An agent from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive Bureau was killed in a shoot-out. And the question is -- the Republicans in the House want a fuller explanation. The Department of Justice has been not forthcoming. The Department of Justice has been very much on the defensive.

They had John Edwards case, which they lost. The Roger Clemens case, they lost. The Ted Stevens, they lost. They haven't prosecuted anybody in Wall Street, who brought the nation to its knees. So, there is a certain lack of kind of support and enthusiasm for them.

But at the same time, it smacks of election-year politics. Darrell Issa, the chairman of that committee, has been dying for an issue. He think he has finally got one. And I think he has one.

JEFFREY BROWN: Hyper-partisan politics? What do you think?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, it's supposed to be.

That is what we are designed for. That is why we have an opposition to scrutinize. And they do it for political gain. But that is the way the system was built, that people with partisan incentives go after the opposition, go after the party in power. So they're doing what they're supposed to be doing.

I'm in general a defender of executive privilege. I think it is important for an administration to be able to have conversations about policy that will be private, so they can have a normal deliberative process.

In this case, whether legally the administration is on solid ground in invoking it, that is a gray area. Politically, I think it's stupid.

JEFFREY BROWN: This was the president acting this week with the executive privilege.

DAVID BROOKS: Right, saying we're not going to release these further documents.

And I think politically it's stupid, because it is one thing if you are invoking executive privilege over some national security issue. This is a policy everybody admits was profoundly stupid. Why are you not saying, okay, this was a stupid policy, let's get it out there and let's figure out how it came about?

JEFFREY BROWN: But the contempt charge itself, do you think politics, but okay?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, you know, that's politics.

I guess I have some qualms about it because it escalates what is -- it's traditional. Every president gets it some more, some less, these wars with Congress over turf. This escalates it a little more and it makes it seem a little stupider.

JEFFREY BROWN: It smacks of partisan politics, but you don't like that?

MARK SHIELDS: No, I love partisan politics. You know, that's what I don't like about independents. They want to take the partisanship out of politics.

But, no, I think there is one other political angle here and it shouldn't be ignored. And that is, since the founding of our country, we have been about expanding the franchise. Only white property-owning males could vote. And then it was expanded to include freed slaves. And, later, it was women and men without property, and finally to African-Americans and to 18-year-olds.

And there's been -- make no mistake about it. In the last two years, there's been a real effort by Republicans organized in states to restrict the franchise, to make it more difficult to vote. And Eric Holder has been, quite frankly, the stalwart opposing those laws and challenging them. And I think that fuels the political fires even more.

JEFFREY BROWN: Really? You're suggesting that they are going after him for larger reasons.

MARK SHIELDS: I think that's part of the fever of partisanship.

And I think the White House figures that nobody can lose a fight with the House Republicans, because in every poll they are lower, and I think this may be wrong on this one.

JEFFREY BROWN: What do you think about that, going after him for larger issues?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. The government was running guns. This was profoundly stupid policy.

MARK SHIELDS: No, no, I agree with that.

DAVID BROOKS: You can imagine, oh, we will be clever, we will stick them in there, then we will know who it is.

But it is like anybody with a half a distance from the internal process says, wait, we're running guns, let's not do this. And so I think that is sufficient enough. The causes for the partisanship against the administration, Darrell Issa, they are manifold. I'm not sure that -- I don't believe that plays. . .

JEFFREY BROWN: And the politics of this for both sides?

DAVID BROOKS: I think it is a winner for the Republicans.

It's funny. It hasn't really registered with the country yet, what the government has done. When -- if it gets out, wait, they were sending guns to Mexico, I think it's such a thing that will startle people. I think it's a clear winner for the Republicans.

And what the Obama administration wants to do with this executive privilege, get it lost in the court system, push it past the election, and then hopefully it will go away.

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