At a time when Republicans of all stripes are calling for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, one Republican continues to stand by his side.Meet Jon Bruning, candidate for U.S. Senate and the sitting Attorney General for Nebraska.Last week, we learned that Bruning lobbied the Senate to support Holder during his confirmation process. As President-Elect of the National Association of Attorneys General in 2009, Bruning co-signed two letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee praising Holder for his "fairness and balance" and urged members to confirm him. Bruning wrote: “We believe that Mr. Holder has the knowledge and experience necessary to run the Department of Justice and work with us to enforce our laws."Bruning of course was not alone in this. There were other Republicans who signed these letters, and some Republican Senators voted to confirm him. But many Republicans also opposed him – and importantly… for those who didn’t, they now understand how bad Eric Holder is and would likely admit they made a mistake.But not Jon Bruning.When asked by the Omaha World-Herald about his previous support for Eric Holder’s unconscionable guns-to-Mexico program – “Fast and Furious,” Bruning declined to talk about it. Instead, he deflected by defending his record on gun rights.Nice try, but the fact Jon Bruning backed Eric Holder in 2009 and is now unwilling to admit it was a mistake shows that he's clearly not the conservative he holds himself out to be – and worse, he apparently is willing to stand by an aggressively liberal Attorney General who abuses the rule of law.
Setting aside for a moment the disastrous Fast and Furious program – let’s consider how bad Holder is, and how inexcusable it is for Bruning to stand by him. Even before his confirmation, Holder’s problem with truthfulness was clear to anyone who followed his intimate involvement with the dubious Marc Rich pardon by Bill Clinton and subsequent shady testimony about it in Congressional hearings. But since he became Attorney General, Holder and his DOJ have aggressively challenged religious freedom (the right of churches to hire folks who share their faith), challenged Voter ID laws, challenged state immigration laws, and even had to take the highly unusual step of withdrawing its own Section 5 Voting Rights Act objection.But for Holder to countenance a DOJ program that sent guns to drug cartels and gangs in Mexico is beyond comprehension and shows a total lack of devotion either to the rule of law or the spirit of the 2nd Amendment. But many conservatives knew when Holder was being confirmed that he held extreme views against gun rights. This is why the NRA opposed Holder's confirmation and it's why 21 Republicans in the Senate voted against Holder's confirmation, including Jon Bruning's home state Republican Senator, Mike Johanns. In a letter to a constituent explaining his opposition to Holder, Senator Johanns wrote:
"Of particular concern to me was Mr. Holder's antagonistic record on the Second Amendment. As both a private citizen and public servant, Eric Holder has been a zealous advocate of gun control regulation, working against the interests of gun owners. I firmly believe that the Second Amendment's individual right to bear arms is an important right for millions of Americas and future generations to come, and I am concerned that the strength of Mr. Holder's convictions may hinder his ability to defend the Second Amendment to its fullest extent."
Republicans knew Holder was a bad apple from the beginning. It's why they opposed his confirmation and it's why countless Republicans are now calling for Holder's resignation. Not Jon Bruning. Jon Bruning is trying to hide his liberal record just long enough to win the May 15 primary for U.S. Senate against conservative Don Stenberg. Each time he's asked about a flaw in his record, Bruning dodges and attacks Stenberg for losing several statewide races. Of course, Don Stenberg has actually won more statewide races in Nebraska than Jon Bruning, but the facts don't seem to matter to this Eric Holder Republican.Conservatives in Nebraska should know that if they vote for Jon Bruning, they're voting for a Republican who still can't bring himself to oppose Obama's Attorney General. The primary is two months away so now is the time for conservatives to support Don Stenberg.