Eric Holder’s GOP friends

ERIC HOLDER’S GOP FRIENDS…. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) complained last week that Eric Holder, Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, may be unqualified because he’s made “some very unfortunate statements about our interrogation of prisoners.” Yes, the next A.G. has spoken out against illegal interrogation techniques, and the second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate thinks that’s a good reason to vote against confirmation.

In the meantime, however, Holder continues to pick up support from more-sane Republican corners.

Two more former top Bush Justice Department officials have endorsed the nomination of Eric Holder for attorney general, the latest in a growing list of GOP backers for Holder.

In letters obtained by Politico and expected to be released shortly, Paul McNulty and Larry Thompson, both of whom served as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush, threw their support behind Holder, who was a deputy attorney general under former President Bill Clinton.

James Comey, another Bush deputy attorney general, has also backed Holder.

What’s more, when Holder’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins on Thursday, he’ll be introduced by former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who will speak on Holder’s behalf.

I’m struggling to wrap my head around the Republican gameplan on this. Their caucus has 41 members, and even if the GOP were to filibuster Holder’s nomination, which seems unlikely, they’d lose.

It seems that Specter, Kyl, and others simply want to go through the motions, in large part because they seem to enjoy re-litigating ’90s-era controversies surrounding Marc Rich, Waco, and Elian Gonzales.

It all seems rather pointless, especially with respected Republican lawyers from the Bush administration rallying to Holder’s defense.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.