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Reported AG Pick Holder Seems Progressive on Terrorism Issues

Ever since Mike Isikoff went live with his apparent scoop that former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder is going to be Barack Obama’s attorney general, a number of liberal friends of mine have expressed concerns over email that he’s not liberal enough. And maybe — I really can’t say I know the first thing about Holder. That will have to change, if Isikoff is right.

But Googling around, I see he’s sounded many progressive notes about terrorism-related issues. Check out this speech to the American Constitution Society, the liberal answer to the Federalist Society, in June, back when he was helping helm Obama’s vice-presidential search committee. Mark Halperin put up an ACS press release giving the highlights:

“Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror’ have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe,” Holder told a packed room at the ACS 2008 Convention on Friday evening. “For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”

The video is here (and obnoxiously un-embeddable). He gets pretty scathing about the detention, rendition, denial-of-habeas corpus, illegal surveillance, and torture stuff, saying:

“We owe the American people a reckoning. It is our responsibility as citizens to preserve and protect our constitution… Let me be clear: I firmly believe that there is evil in the world, and that we still face grave dangers to our security. But our ability to lead the world in combatting these dangers depends not only on the strength of our military leadership but our moral leadership as well. … To recapture it, we can no longer allow ourselves to be ruled by fear. We must evaluate our policies and our practices in the harsh light of day and steel ourselves to face the world’s dangers in accord with the rule of law.”

Sounds like a progressive! But does that evaluate-our-policies-in-the-harsh-light-of-day stuff mean an investigation into the Bush administration’s still-secret abuses? That would be an early progressive test for Holder should he become attorney general.

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