Injustice against whites

The Bush administration was constantly criticized for allegedly “politicizing” various Cabinet departments by overriding the actions and decisions of “career” employees for what Bush’s critics saw as purely “political” reasons.

Bush’s most egregious outrages supposedly occurred at the Justice Department, where — Democratic critics charged — the president’s political appointees ran roughshod over the professional career lawyers toiling there, fired or isolated anyone who dared disagree with his perverted view of justice, and thus undermined both the morale and the credibility of American justice.

Attorney General John Ashcroft was characterized as a know-nothing with little regard for the Constitution, and his successor was dismissed as an ignorant sycophant incapable of independent thought. The men and women who joined them at Justice were almost universally derided as dangerous ideologues out to destroy the integrity of the department.

But the times, they do change. Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFirst redistricting lawsuits filed by Democratic group On The Trail: Census data kicks off the biggest redistricting fight in American history Voter suppression bills are the first move in a bigger battle MORE’s appointment as attorney general was welcomed by a fawning media and Senate willing to forgive and forget the fact that as a Clinton functionary, his fingerprints were on the most egregious outrages of the last Democratic administration.

It was expected that Holder would be in sync with the career bureaucracy, if only because he thinks of and looks at the world in much the same way as most Justice Department apparatchiks. After all, FEC records revealed even before the election that Justice employees were heavier contributors to the Obama campaign than those working anywhere else in the federal government.

But now it seems that Holder and company are doing just what liberals accused Bush’s minions of doing. Last week The Washington Times revealed that political appointees at the Department overruled career lawyers to end an investigation and civil complaint against three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, who on Election Day last November took it upon themselves to make certain voters in one Philadelphia precinct “did the right thing.”

These three thugs, dressed in paramilitary garb, were caught on camera wielding nightsticks to intimidate white voters who they suspected might not be prepared to vote for their candidate. The film, as happens these days, quickly ended up on YouTube, shocked those who saw it and resulted in a Justice Department investigation of charges that the three had violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was passed in large measure to prevent intimidation of minority voters in the South, but not even ’60s Klan members had the audacity to don sheets and show up at polling places with weapons to hurl threats and racial epithets at voters. These guys, in other words, made the Klansmen of an earlier age look sophisticated — and that is quite an accomplishment.

Indeed, the Times quoted a ’60s civil rights activist who actually witnessed what went on in Philadelphia as saying that what he saw these guys do represented “the most blatant form of voter intimidation” he had ever seen. Anyone who saw the YouTube footage would have to agree.

During the DoJ investigation, it was discovered that at least one of these characters got into the polling place because he had credentials as a Democratic poll watcher. He didn’t steal the credentials. They were his, as he was and is an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee. What’s more, although the three simply refused to appear in court, one bragged that what they did was part of a nationwide effort to deploy likeminded types at select polling places around the country.

It should be remembered that in previous elections, Democrats have charged that the mere request for identification at polling places is intimidating to minority voters and that Republican lawyers dispatched to polling places as poll watchers were simply — by their presence — so intimidating as to be beyond the pale. That sort of “intimidation” in the age in which we live is seen as deplorable; but a bunch of filthy-mouthed, club-wielding goons are dismissed as perhaps just a bit overenthusiastic.

To their credit, career Justice officials were prepared to enforce the law against these three, until President Obama’s political appointees ordered them to stop.

Democrats in the Senate during the Bush years were constantly calling Justice Department officials to Capitol Hill to explain their actions. It’s time to see if Attorney General Holder will be questioned by the Democratic Senate and House to explain why he and those working for him convinced themselves it is acceptable to let racist thugs who intimidate voters walk.

Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, can be reached at Keeneacu@aol.com.