Dick Morris: Holder Making Politically Risky Trip to Ferguson

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 04:02 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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Attorney General Eric Holder could embarrass himself and his boss by going to riot-torn Ferguson, Mo., to act as the federal government's eyes and ears on what is still, at heart, a local investigation into a racially charged police shooting, political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

"It's a dangerous move for him because, first of all, he doesn't really have any authority there," Morris told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Morris said Holder's presence in Ferguson is potentially awkward because the Aug. 9 killing of an unarmed young black man, Michael Brown, 18, by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, is not an interstate or federal case — and any attempt to make it one could cause a national uproar.

At the same time, if Holder doesn't pull rank and assert jurisdiction by insisting that Brown's death is a federal civil-rights matter, he risks looking "irrelevant," said Morris.

"There's nothing worse than kicking around there while everybody else has the power, and you're just, in effect, a distinguished demonstrator," said Morris. "Yet he can't go in and blow aside the prosecutor, the grand jury and the whole bit, and basically set up shop and say, 'I am the law.'

"So, it's a very difficult situation for him. He's going because [President Barack] Obama doesn't want to go, and somebody has to go, so they're sending Holder," said Morris. "It's going to be a very difficult role for him to play — not the least because of his own proclivity, which is to be outspoken and fairly left on issues like this. And what the public would not want is a politicization of Ferguson."

Morris said that for Obama himself, the best course is to recede, let all the facts surrounding the shooting and the subsequent street violence emerge, and support whatever conclusions the authorities and the general public reach.

"Once the American people come to a verdict on that, it will be a pretty unanimous verdict," Morris predicted. "It will be something driven mainly by the facts, not by the rhetoric. That will create a strong political reality which Obama and everybody else must deal with."

If Obama denies the national consensus, "and if he tries to launch an investigation counter to it, then he could be badly hurt," said Morris. "But as long as he basically plays a supportive role and goes along with what the facts seem to be, I don't think this will hurt him much."

But Morris said the Ferguson case is playing out amid a growing frustration among African-Americans with the country's first black president, including the president's handling of the economy and illegal immigration.

"There is a feeling that his programs haven't worked," said Morris. "For goodness' sakes, the median income of the lowest quintile of our country, the poorest 20 percent, has dropped by 8.5 percent since Obama became president, a steeper drop than for any of the other segments of the population."

Morris said the federal response to the border crisis could also erode support for Obama and Democrats in general among black voters — "not in the polling, but in the turnout," said Morris.

"The influx of immigrants — particularly the agricultural immigrants and construction workers and other occupations where he's considering expanding dramatically the guest worker program — really does pose a threat to the wage levels of native-born Americans who perform similar jobs, many of whom are black," said Morris.

Morris said that if black workers feel they are being pitted against illegal immigrants in a race to the bottom on jobs and wages, more of them might just stay home on election day in 2014 and 2016.

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