Attorney General Eric Holder's decisions about where not to apply prosecutorial resources -- illegal aliens, "medical marijuana" -- have created big fans at MSNBC. At the Maddow Blog, MSNBC's Steve Benen hailed how "Eric Holder steps in, digs in, and breaks out."
To Team Rachel, Holder "seems wildly underrated" and is "one of the more accomplished attorneys general in recent memory," as in one of the most liberal:
Holder is truly reviled on the right, to the point that calls for his resignation have come from the RNC, many Senate Republicans, and at last count, 122 House Republicans.
But once we get past the partisan sniping and consider the policy breakthroughs, Eric Holder appears to have quietly positioned himself not only as a progressive champion, but as one of the more accomplished attorneys general in recent memory.
Think about some of the recent policies Holder has chosen to tackle: voting rights; sentencing reforms; condemnations of "Stand Your Ground" laws, and of course the drug policy announced yesterday. These are critically important law-enforcement policies, some of which have been neglected and ignored by officials in both parties for years, long in need of leadership -- which Holder is now providing.
Benen (and Maddow) even excuse the Justice Department's aggressive prosecution of reporters (perhaps because they not-so-secretly want Fox News to suffer):
Even when the Justice Department arguably went too far in subpoenaing reporters' phone logs as part of a leak investigation, it was Holder who soon after approved reforms to make it more difficult for this to happen in the future through higher search-warrant standards, and ensuring more advance notice for news organizations.
The A.G. isn't just breaking sharply with Justice Department practices in the Bush/Cheney era; Holder is changing the trajectory of regressive policies that have gotten worse for decades
This certainly isn't to say his tenure has been flawless, but the political world generally only focuses on Holder when Republicans are attacking him, and that's a shame. On a variety of key areas, the Attorney General seems wildly underrated.