Eric Holder Has Become a ‘Black Political Superhero’

With Loretta Lynch finally confirmed and scheduled to be sworn in on Monday, today is the final day of Eric Holder’s six-plus years as attorney general. While Holder has been the ultimate Obama-era villain for many on the right, many on the left, particularly people of color, have considered him a champion on issues like civil rights and criminal justice reform. Posting at the Root, political strategist Charles D. Ellison captures the pride he and many other African-Americans feel about Holder, whom he calls a “black political superhero”:

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Eric Holder: ‘I Think We Can Officially Say Now That Eric Holder Is Free’

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he was resigning from the Justice Department in September 2014. Six months later, he was still working at the Justice Department, as the Senate stalled on confirming his proposed replacement, Loretta Lynch. The longer Holder waited, the more people in Washington you could find wearing black rubber wristbands that said "Free Eric Holder" on them. One Justice Department employee told The Wall Street Journal“We’re hoping for a day we don’t have to wear these bracelets anymore, even if it takes a charity album." By late March, they were thinking of upgrading to "Free Eric Holder" T-shirts. 

Next week, he finally gets to leave. »

Washington Celebrity-Gazing Now Too Important to Be Confined to Merely Two Days

Two years ago, I was marvelling at how the White House Correspondents' Association’s annual event had ballooned from a dinner to an entire weekend.

(“The gigantic ethics violation that was once called the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, and is now known as White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Weekend …”) Today, via Politico, I have learned, perhaps later than everybody else in town, that the weekend formulation is already passé:

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Texas Commissioner Says Fighting for Fryers in Schools ‘Isn’t About French Fries, It’s About Freedom’

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who enlisted Ted Nugent to be the treasury of his 2014 campaign, is trying to overturn a ban that has kept deep-fat fryers and soda machines out of public schools in the state for the past ten years, according to the Texas Tribune. Miller, who champions local control against evil state governments in the same way many conservative national politicians champion states instead of the federal government, has written that this fight “isn't about french fries, it's about freedom," a battle cry that pops up with weird regularity in modern American political rhetoric.

"Children need the freedom to eat meat." »

Jeb Bush Is Going to Get Chubby Again

Jeb Bush is going to get fat again. This is a near-scientific certainty of which Bush is apparently unaware. Instead, Bush seems to believe that he has discovered a brilliant new weight-loss method, “The Paleo Diet,” which has changed his life for the better. “It’s really working,” Al Cardenas, a longtime Bush friend, tells Michael Barbaro. Spoiler: It’s not working.

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Mitt Romney Claims There’s ‘Every Appearance That Hillary Was Bribed’

If you thought being falsely accused by Harry Reid of failing to pay income tax for an entire decade would make Mitt Romney more sensitive to the plight of fellow presidential candidates, you don't know Mitt. Thursday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Romney offered a lengthy analysis of the New York Times report on the Clinton Foundation accepting donations from the CEO of a Canadian company selling an American uranium mine to Russia's state nuclear agency in a deal that required State Department approval. "You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it," Romney said. "I mean, it looks like bribery. I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia, and then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails."

Okay, so far there's not enough evidence to prove that, but ... bribery! "I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn’t wiped out thousands of emails," Romney added. "But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery."

As for Clinton’s denial: “Well, it’s blah, blah, blah.” »

Republican Consultant: My Blog Post Was ‘Mostly Thoughtful’ and Not Uninformed at All

Yesterday, I marveled at the laziness of Republican consultant and Washington Post blogger Ed Rogers, who wrote, “there is nothing [President Obama] can do in the 20 months he has left in office that will appreciably affect the climate,” apparently unaware that there is an international conference in Paris this year to conclude the first-ever international agreement to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. I conceded that Republicans will obviously dismiss the agreement if and (likely) when it is made, but it was telling that the Post published an opinion piece premised on a lack of awareness of an extremely important event.

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The Disastrous Clinton Post-Presidency

The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.

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Did Hillary Back Foreign Deals Due to Clinton Foundation Donations?

Earlier this week, the New York Times teased the forthcoming book Clinton Cash, in which conservative author Peter Schweizer alleges that foreign entities made donations to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for favors from Hillary Clinton's State Department. Several news outlets, including the Times, received early access to the book to fuel their own reporting on the subject, and Senator Rand Paul declared that the revelations would be "alarming" and "mind boggling."

The first round of those reports was published on Wednesday, and so far Paul was right — but not in the way he intended. Sifting through the connections between foreign CEOs' business dealings, foundation donations that were only partially disclosed, speaking fees collected by Bill Clinton, and decisions made by the former secretary of State is certainly "mind boggling," but so far there's no smoking gun.

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Harry Reid Has Officially Entered the DGAF Phase of His Career

Harry Reid, relieved from his duties as Senate majority leader by voters in November, seems not to have gotten the memo. Demoted but not diminished, the minority leader is pursuing his role as chief conservative crazymaker with newfound passion. “The answer is not only no, but hell no,” he told reporters on Tuesday when asked whether he’d support the bipartisan deal worked out by senators Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch to give the president authority to fast-track trade deals through Congress. “Be very careful that you don’t destroy this human-trafficking legislation that is so important … My senators are not going to sit back like shrinking violets and let this stuff go forward without responding,” he warned Republicans this week, after they reached a deal that was previously held up by fights over abortion and immigration. A vote on the bill, which will finally allow Loretta Lynch’s attorney general confirmation vote to go forward this week, comes a week after Reid threatened to force a vote on her confirmation if McConnell didn’t schedule one soon.

Reid's reign was filled with victories or ruined the Senate, depending on whom you ask. »

Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon