I'm not sure why I missed this at the time - the letter's dated June 20th - but it's official: "the NRA will consider this vote in [their] candidate evaluations." That doesn't guarantee a contempt charge passing the House, but only because a contempt charge was already guaranteed. For all the loose and charged rhetoric going around, if Speaker Boehner wasn't going to let Oversight Chair Issa go forward with this it wouldn't have gone forward, and Boehner wouldn't have let this gone forward if the votes weren't there in the first place. What this does guarantee is that a lot of the House Democrats who bitterly cling to their high NRA scores like so many floatation devices are now going to have to choose what's more important; the President, or their own careers. Jim Matheson of Utah is merely the first to break under the strain (via Hot Air). Seeing who else similarly back-stabs the President tomorrow should be entertaining.
Moving along, this particular op-ed from the Baltimore Sun on Operation Fast & Furious is likewise entertaining, mostly because its title ("Fast and Furious: The Second Amendment conspiracy theory") fundamentally gets wrong the meaning of 'conspiracy theory.' Contra the author, it is not actually 'kooky' to think that the administration planned all along to use the gunrunning operation in order to call for stronger gun control laws, and here's why:
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
Now, as it happens I don't take the position that the administration planned this all along; I take the position that they messed up the original mission through a combination of institutionalized cowboy theatrics on the DEA's part and clueless cowboy theatrics by various political appointees. It took the Obama administration a while to realize just how much of a disaster that they were facing, which is why their first reaction was to try to use the operation for their own benefit. This collective delusion continued until the combination of the death of at least one American law enforcement agent, and the loss of the House of Representatives, made the administration realize that they had a rapidly destabilizing situation on their hands. That's when the cover-up began... which the Obama administration handled as well as it does everything else. Which is to say, not well at all.
Now, this theory does not actually require that the administration had a plan all along. But neither does it rule it out. There is in fact evidence that administration officials were on the record as planning to use the deaths of Mexicans and American law enforcement officials that they themselves had indirectly caused to push for gun control laws. There's merely a question about when the administration had decided to go down that route. And a valid way to determine the answer to that question is simply to look at the documents in question. All of them. No exceptions. And if the Obama administration wants to be given the courtesy of us assuming good faith on its part, then the Obama administration should have not allowed itself to already get caught lying to Congress.
Put more simply: "the administration knew all along" is falsifiable (a full document dump should resolve the question). That means that it's not a conspiracy theory... and those people who think that it is a conspiracy theory should be clamoring for a full document dump, precisely because it would validate their position that the attempts to cynically exploit the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of innocent human beings all started after the original program got botched by a staggeringly incompetent and hyper-arrogant Obama administration.
No, wait, I think that I see the problem for them, there.
Moe Lane (crosspost)