Eric Holder's dog whistle

Eric Holder blew his dog whistle and Rep. Steve Israel heard it loud and clear. A dog whistle being, in case you are not familiar with the metaphor, a coded message (usually on race) supposedly audible to all who share the mental framework of the whistle-blower.

Last week, speaking to race demagogue Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Holder coyly implied racism was at the root of mistreatment he and the president have purportedly received:

“Forget about me. Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee,” Holder told the crowd. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

The loud applause that followed indicated the Sharptonites in attendance all heard the dog whistle.

Holder’s whining, minus the race dog whistle, is ahistorical claptrap. His predecessor Alberto Gonzales was relentlessly hounded in office, and John Mitchell went to jail. George W. Bush received comparisons with Hitler and chimpanzees and books were published on how an assassination of him might be carried out.

But now, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States is disingenuously claiming he was not bringing race into the discussion of his grilling during the House committee hearing that preceded his Sharptonfest speech by a day. Ryan J. Reilly in the Huffington Post:

Attorney General Eric Holder said he wasn't referring to race last week when he strayed from prepared remarks during a speech before a civil rights group in order to discuss the way he has been treated at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"I didn't say there was a racial component. I was very careful not to say that," Holder told The Huffington Post on Friday, when asked about his comments before the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Holder is here admitting in his “very careful” usage that he was in fact blowing a dog whistle, avoding taking direct responsibility for the message he was sending. And Democrat Rep. Steve kner exacytly what he was saying, and puts the lie to Holder’s “civility” excuse. Newsday, the newspaper in Israel’s Long Island congressional district reported yesterday:

Democratic Rep. Steve Israel said Sunday that racism in the Republican Party is playing a role in blocking an immigration overhaul in congress.

"To a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism," said Israel, (D-Huntington) during CNN's "State of the Union" program. "That's unfortunate."

Charging your opponent with racism is not exactly civil. If that were really Holder’s message, he would by now have rebuked Israel for his incivility. No such eschewing of slanderous charges of racism will be forthcoming of course.

Holder is such a classic bully that he can’t even take responsibility for the slurs he offers