Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell hinted that a vote will finally come on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. Another GOP senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, assured that a Senate vote on Lynch is practically days away. It probably will happen this time. The GOP has been pounded, lambasted and pulverized for weeks by President Obama, Democrats and every civil rights group around for shamefully stalling Lynch's confirmation. She has the distinction courtesy of the GOP of having her nomination held hostage to anti-Obama hard core partisan politics longer than any Attorney General nominee since the Reagan administration.
The issue has never been Lynch's legal and administrative credentials. They are impeccable. The issue is not really the trumped up issue that McConnell and GOP leaders claimed was the reason for the unconscionable foot-drag on her confirmation and that's that they wanted a vote on an anti-human trafficking law. The issue is their die-hard, take no prisoners, assault on Obama.
Even when Lynch is confirmed, that won't change. The first long and loud warning that Lynch would be held as a hostage to the GOP's assault on Obama's policies came virtually the moment he announced that he had chosen her to replace AG Eric Holder. GOP Senators Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz, both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, publicly made it clear that they ticked off that Obama would tap Lynch when many Democrats are lame ducks, and thus not giving the incoming wave of GOP Senate members a chance to have their say on Lynch. This was in December. But this limp excuse fell apart when month after month after the new batch of GOP senators were sworn in Lynch's nomination still languished unmentioned and unaddressed by GOP senate leaders.
They then snatched at yet another ploy. They harped that that she was supposedly close to Al Sharpton, and met with him during the protests around the strangle death of Eric Garner by New York police. This quickly morphed into the wild, irresponsible and politically loaded question, "Did Sharpton pick the next attorney general?" -- that being Lynch. That ploy quickly went by the wayside when no one could produce a shred of proof that Sharpton had had any backroom dealings with Lynch or Obama on her.
Then again that wasn't really the issue anyway. It was that Lynch was Obama's pick. The GOP could latch on to this in its relentless drive to tar Obama as an imperial president who thumbs his nose at Congress at every turn and chooses partisan handmaidens to do his bidding.
The GOP played that card repeatedly during every moment of Holder's tenure at the Justice Department. It began during his Senate confirmation hearing in 2009. He was grilled over his role as Deputy Attorney General in Bill Clinton's administration in a handful of controversial decisions. Holder was overwhelmingly confirmed as Attorney General. Yet, the flack he took was only the start. The GOP viewed him as a pawn in their relentless attack plan on Obama. If they could discredit, taint and tarnish Holder for even the most picayune act, it would be another slap at Obama.
The GOP had yet another reason to try and figure out a way to brush aside Lynch's sterling credentials and make her a target. She almost certainly would carry on the fight Holder waged against voter registration discrimination through aggressive enforcement of the voting rights laws. This poses a major threat to the GOP's push to undermine the Voting Rights Act with a rash of voter ID laws and restrictions, topped by the lawsuit before the Supreme Court to scrub the Act.
This is even more important with the opening gun of the 2016 presidential elections at hand. There are already three GOP declared presidential candidates. The GOP's trounce of Democrats in the mid-terms would ultimately be wiped out if there is an upsurge in black and Latino voter's dash back to the polls in 2016. They made a huge difference in Obama's election and reelection victories, and in insuring Democrat gains in many state elections in 2008 and 2012. The full enforcement of the Voting Rights Act is a strong safeguard that those gains could be made again in 2016. This is the last thing the GOP wants. This would virtually insure the continued Democratic hold on the White House.
Obama called the GOP's disgraceful delay on Lynch's confirmation, "embarrassing." It is that and much more. Yet, Obama is well aware that Lynch from the start was simply a pawn in the GOP's high stakes game to not just embarrass him, but to hamstring his presidency in its final stretch drive to the end of his White House tenure. Its confirmation of Lynch will do absolutely nothing to change that.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.
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