Well, That Changes Things

by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

Isikoff's reporting has been exaggerated.  According to the secondhand account, Obama was asked:

...one of those present raised the idea of criminal prosecution of at least one Bush era official, if only as a symbolic gesture.  Obama dismissed the idea, several of those in attendance said, making it clear that he had no interest in such an investigation.  Holder [...] reportedly said nothing.

Obama is correct to reject any call for using the DoJ as a conduit for symbolic gestures.  This is not the function of the DoJ.  Deciding what is a crime and what isn't, moreover what is a prosecutable crime and what isn't, is not and should never be reduced to partisan gestures of symbolism.

The fact that Holder sat silent as Obama reaffirmed this obvious point means nothing because Holder has said as much publicly all along.  The fact that this obvious point was missed by most of those reporting shows how far Obama and Holder's DoJ have to go to restore the proper application of the rule of law.  This stance alone is a major break with Bush's DoJ and policies.

It sounds like the left wanted Obama to make the DoJ into exactly what Obama, and the left for that matter, derided about the Bush DoJ--the partisan, rather than fair and impartial, arbiter of justice.

I agree with this. I watched that video late last night, and somehow didn't notice this detail. I looked for Isikoff's story to verify my take but it wasn't posted until this morning. This changes my reading of the civil liberties meeting and this morning's speech substantially.