And as far as political attacks are concerned, crying racism is not half-bad. Sure, it's cheap, distasteful and low, but it's effective (how can you prove it wrong?). Further, these attacks should be expected. Indeed, back in 2008 when the senator from Chicago first ran for president against a woefully outmatched Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., it became painfully clear that the “you're a racist” line of attack would be the go-to response from Team Obama.
So it shouldn't surprise anyone when a left-leaning pundit or, say, a Democratic senator falls back on this now very tired and worn talking point.
However, we can't help but be disappointed every time U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder engages in this sort of nonsense. We like to think that law enforcement officials are above this type of political gamesmanship -- justice is blind and all that -- but Holder keeps proving us wrong.
Take, for example, the attorney general’s claim over the weekend that he and President Obama has long been the target of “racial animus.”
“There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder said during an interview with ABC News. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."
Or maybe - just maybe! - people are critical of the White House for its repeated circumvention of Congress, its failure to adhere to the law and its outright incompetence in matters both domestic and foreign. Maybe.
Holder continued, saying that the nation is “a fundamentally better place than we were 50 years ago,” which is nice considering that it was Vice President Joe Biden who said last week that politics today are uglier than in the days of segregation.
“We've made lots of progress,” Holder said Sunday. “I sit here as the first African-American attorney general, serving the first African-American president of the United States. And that has to show that we have made a great deal of progress.”
“But there's still more we have to travel along this road so we get to the place that is consistent with our founding ideals,” he added.
Asked during his ABC News interview about the time he said that the U.S. is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race issues, Holder said he stood by his speech.
“I wouldn't walk away from that speech,” Holder said. “I think we are still a nation that is too afraid to confront racial issues,” adding that we seldom engage “one another across the color line [to] talk about racial issues.”
Holder then turned his attention to the controversial issue of voter ID laws, which Republicans say are necessary to ensure election integrity and Democrats say are discriminatory because people apparently can't figure out how to acquire a photo ID.
“Who is disproportionately impacted by [these laws]? Young people, African-Americans, Hispanics, older people, people who, for whatever reason, aren't necessarily supportive of the Republican Party,” the attorney general said, adding that “this notion that there is widespread in-person voter fraud is simply belied by the facts.”
The Justice Department will launch legal challenges against new voting laws in both Ohio and Wisconsin, following similar legal challenges filed against Texas and North Carolina, Holder promised.
“I'm attorney general of the United States. … I will not allow people to take away that which people gave their lives to give, and that is the ability for the American people to vote,” he said.
Because asking that voters provide an ID in the same way that they would to buy cigarettes or board a plane now equals taking away their right to vote. Good luck figuring that one out.