The big news today is the imminent House committee vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Substantively, there doesn’t seem to be that much Congress has asked for that the Justice Department hasn’t given on the “Fast and Furious” scandal (though certainly there’s disagreement on that front, especially from Congressional Republicans). The real driver here seems more like base Republicans’ desire for a confrontation with Holder — with a lot of the heat over gun control conspiracy theories wrapped up into what is in itself a legitimate scandal. It’s a push the higher ups in the Congressional leadership have at key points resisted. But the momentum from GOP backbenchers is simply too great. And now it’s happening.
Here’s my question: Does the Obama White House really care? I’ve seen very little evidence that Eric Holder doesn’t enjoy the total confidence of the President. And a contempt vote only has the power of whatever moral opprobrium it carries. In practice, it means little to nothing. Presidents in a general election context often welcome confrontations with the base of the opposition party in Congress. I wonder if the White House (and also the campaign) actually welcomes this or at least is happy to see the House take its best shot.
We’ll be bringing you the latest through the day.
In other news, Mitt Romney looks increasingly isolated on the response to the President’s immigration order. More and more Republicans are coming out against it; but Mitt is still mum. More of the blocking and tackling over critical demographic groups that we discussed in yesterday’s brief.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.