Of course the Attorney General opening will be a campaign point

The news that Eric Holder was resigning wasn’t entirely unexpected. Back at the beginning of 2014, there were reports he was planning to step down before the end of the year. What wasn’t entirely clear then was when he would step down. According to a story run by The New Yorker back in February, Holder had made some noise about leaving this year. Later, the Department of Justice “clarified” by saying Holder indicated he would stay in his office “Well into 2014,” because that is definitely clearer.


Regardless, the news wasn’t unexpected. What I found to be so intriguing was the timing. I had expected Holder, if he was going to, to go ahead and announce over the summer he was leaving by year’s end. What I didn’t expect, largely because I once again underestimated the extent of this administration’s ineptitude (this one is all on me, guys – sorry), was that he would announce less than two months away from the midterm elections. Apparently, the Washington Post somewhat agrees with me:

Under normal circumstances, it would take about two months for White House’s selection to be vetted by the FBI and Senate Judiciary Committee and then go through a final confirmation vote by the full Senate. But the election calendar will probably affect that time frame. Holder’s decision to leave on the eve of a midterm election has no precedent in recent history, and the slow-moving confirmation process for Obama’s nominees has been a partisan flashpoint in Washington over the past four years.

As expected, both sides of the political aisle are shaking their fists, each wanting control over the nomination process. Democrats want a nomination almost immediately, and for good reason – if they do it before they are a lame duck, it doesn’t look as bad as it would if they did it after they are a lame duck. Republicans, as would be expected of a party that should (barring any major disaster like major consultant groups) control the Senate starting in 2015, are saying to wait until after the elections. They can hold up the nominations long enough to claim their new seats.


If this was a move that was meant to be used in the actual campaign season, it is possibly the dumbest yet. But, at this point, Democrats’ only option might be to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. “Obstructing GOP wants the country to be without a Justice leader!” would be uninspiring and, frankly, absurd given we haven’t had one in six years.


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