Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Obama must fire Holder

It’s been a tough week for President Obama. From defending Benghazi to politicizing the Internal Revenue Service to spying on the Associated Press, a trifecta of embarrassing scandals and controversies are crippling the president. The situation could get a lot worse if President Obama doesn’t take charge right now, come out in front of the public strongly, and, to quote, former President Harry Truman, say, “The buck stops here.”

Obama must fire Holder

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder attend the 32nd annual the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder attend the 32nd annual the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) AP

It’s been a tough week for President Obama. From defending Benghazi to politicizing the Internal Revenue Service to spying on the Associated Press, a trifecta of embarrassing scandals and controversies are crippling the president. The situation could get a lot worse if President Obama doesn’t take charge right now, come out in front of the public strongly, and, to quote, former President Harry Truman, say, “The buck stops here.”

In this case, that means firing Attorney General Eric Holder.

Not announcing Holder’s resignation. Not feebly terminating Holder’s employment. And not throwing a going away party the way Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie did when he passively dismissed coach Andy Reid. Unlike Reid, Holder should not be around to bid his colleagues at the Department of Justice farewell and wish them nothing but the best.

Holder should be fired with cause and escorted out the door. No severance, no thanks, and no watch.

More coverage
 
Triple Threat: Benghazi, AP, IRS scandals burn Obama

And he should consider himself lucky if he doesn’t go to jail.

For too long, Obama has stayed above the fray – letting others do his fighting for him. His decision to keep most of his political battles at arm’s length has prevented him from intimately showing us what he’s made of. Can Obama – who was elected to office in 2008 without a single minute of elective executive experience -- convince the public to trust that he has, indeed, developed effective executive powers? Or will Obama go down as the poster child for apologist, lame duck politicians – getting exhausted from playing defense and simply running out of gas?

History suggests it’s not too late for Obama to dictate his legacy. But in order for the man to live up to his slogan of “change is on its way,” Obama must act fast. And to quote his other iconic phrase — “hope” — Obama must prove to the American people that he’s the gutsy, independent executive that Senior Strategist David Axelrod and Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter painted him to be in his reelection campaign.

Regardless of where you stand on gun control, Obama has effectively used his executive power to move his party’s gun control agenda forward. The big question is whether he can parlay that somewhat successful initiative into something bigger – specifically his ability as the head of the executive branch to take ownership and responsibility over inappropriate and potentially illegal acts committed by the IRS, DOJ, and State Department..

Executive power — to me — does not mean intentionally circumventing the legislative process, as President Obama has so well demonstrated successfully. It doesn’t mean making recess appointments to avoid critical confirmation hearings.

To me, executive power means displaying courage, taking initiative and working with, yes, even a hostile Congress to deliver what President Obama has sworn he would give us: transparency.

Yet, by shielding Eric Holder, who as our nation’s top chief law enforcement officer has still failed to take a concrete stand on these debacles even after they became public scandals, Obama has demonstrated that his managerial skill set is not only ineffective, but that he’s out of touch.

While it’s nice that Holder now says he will investigate whether federal employees engaged in partisan political activities while on the taxpayers’ clock, it’s too late. The damage has been done, and our country’s top watchdog was sleeping on the job. Holder has broken his sworn oath to uphold the Constitution.

The buck stops here, President Obama.

What liberal president wouldn’t want to protect the freedom of the press as guaranteed by the First Amendment? What progressive president wouldn’t want to ensure that the IRS wasn’t targeting someone or something simply based upon a name? What peace-loving president wouldn’t want to get to the bottom of why a U.S. ambassador was viciously murdered?

You ran as a liberal Democrat, President Obama. Please act like one.

Specifically, that means not firing Holder as a means to limit Republican attacks on your administration. You shouldn’t care about what highly partisan Republicans like me say about you.

Instead, you should fire Holder to show the American people that being missing in action crosses the line and that you have moral character.

You must show the American people that they can trust government and that they can trust you.

If you ever expect for senators on the other side of the aisle to support your gun control agenda, then you must convince the American people that you will never tolerate federal employees to abuse their power. How can we believe when honest people like Sen. Pat Toomey say that there will be 15 years in jail for any government employee who creates a national gun registry when you can’t have your own trusted cabinet heads prevent IRS and DOJ abuse?

It’s all about trust, Mr. President.

You began to restore the public’s trust in yourself when you announced yesterday the resignation of the acting IRS Commissioner, Steve Miller, and then swiftly appointed Daniel Werfel as the Acting Commissioner through the end of the current fiscal year.

That’s action. Duly noted. Thank you.

Don’t stop there.

Don’t forget that the public has lost confidence in Holder. It’s time for him to go.

Whether you feel comfortable or not publicly terminating the dear friend who served as your senior legal advisor on your initial presidential campaign, you have to do it. With bin Laden, you made a tough decision. And, contrary to how many of my Republican colleagues marginalized your involvement in killing Bin Laden, I say that you deserve every bit of credit for swiftly and successfully destroying that evil terrorist leader.

Show that same courage now. You’re not above the fray. These are your managers. And when they drop the ball, they must face Judgment Day from you.

Judgment Day is today.

Fire Holder now.

And, if you need some inspiration, don’t forget what Rihanna said in “Take a bow.”

“Don't tell me you're sorry 'cause you're not
Baby when I know you're only sorry you got caught
But you put on quite a show
Really had me going
But now it's time to go
Curtain's finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it's over now (but it's over now)
Go on and take a bow.”

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

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