Irony abounds when it comes to the Fast and Furious scandal. But the ultimate irony is this: Republicans who support the National Rifle Association and its attempts to weaken gun laws are lambasting ATF agents for not seizing enough weapons”“ones that, in this case, prosecutors deemed to be legal. – The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

IT’S GOING TO be some Thursday. The contempt vote coming on the same day SCOTUS is set to rule on Obamacare, while A.G. Eric Holder will be held in contempt of Congress, because of Democrats doing the bidding for the N.R.A. Talk about dueling headlines made for a cable news, 24/7 media extravaganza.

One day doesn’t shift November, no matter what happens with Obamacare, with Pres. Obama’s hand remaining stronger than Mitt Romney’s, but the symbolism will be powerful if it plays out the way it looks right now.

If you haven’t read this Fortune article, you need to:

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson’s anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general’s report is submitted.)

The White House can squeal “political gamesmanship,” Jay Carney saying “it is politics,” which it is, but it’s just another example of Democrats unable to bring their own sense of theater to the moment, because conservatives have chosen to disarm against the N.R.A.

“While Republicans and Democrats argue over the scope of the people’s right to know what happened, the attorney general has decided to withhold relevant documents,” Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., said in a statement announcing he would support the contempt resolution. [...] Other Democrats to announce an anti-Holder stance include Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C. – House GOP poised to hold Holder in contempt, with some Dems to vote in favor

The action of these conservative Democrats, if they do decide to play along with this farce against Mr. Holder, convinces me none of them are fit for Congress. No one should allow themselves to have their vote bought for fear of losing their seat in Congress if they don’t go the N.R.A.’s way.

This is just one reason Congress earns their lack of respect.

None of these conservative Democrats need to play along. But they’d rather make dishonest statements through their contempt vote about Holder, side with the N.R.A. to keep their seat safe, which Democrats will approve, because having another Republican seat in the House is seen as worse than having a conservative Democrat that can be bought through coercion.

This is what’s wrong with this country. People won’t stand up. Take the hit on principle. Reveal the culprits, like the N.R.A. and other special interest groups, who are buying our elected officials, then dragging them around by their noses.

Some day a politician is going to have to set his or her own political stage, call a press conference and be willing to launch into a little theater.

Conservative Democrats could call the N.R.A. out for doing exactly what they’re doing on the Holder vote. Tell the truth, talk to the people and say they can have the seat back if they want, but a congressional vote, whether it’s against Holder or anyone else, isn’t for sale at any price.

We need a lot more Mr. Smith goes to Washington moments before we’ll ever be able to rescue our politics or our country. Unfortunately, we’re just not the place we used to be. Harry Truman doesn’t live her anymore.

“Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false,” says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS). A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa’s committee. [...] … [...] Issa’s claim that the ATF is using the Fast and Furious scandal to limit gun rights seems, to put it charitably, far-fetched. Meanwhile, Issa and other lawmakers say they want ATF to stanch the deadly tide of guns, widely implicated in the killing of 47,000 Mexicans in the drug-war violence of the past five years. But the public bludgeoning of the ATF has had the opposite effect. From 2010, when Congress began investigating, to 2011, gun seizures by Group VII and the ATF’s three other groups in Phoenix dropped by more than 90%. [Fortune]


Note: As gun owners, my husband, who is a gun expert, and I reject the N.R.A.’s politics and are not members.