On Sunday morning, the CEO of the Associated Press called the Justice Department’s collecting of phone records of AP reporters “unconstitutional.”
That it was unconstitutional is obvious. That Obama remains mute on this incident is not unconstitutional. It is political.
What is significant is this: the CEO speaks for the entire media industry. They do not want their rights trampled. They are sensitive to invasions of their privacy. This is why this issue will not go away. This is not “Fast and Furious.”
This time, Holder & Co. have overstepped their limits — their public relations limits. They have targeted an industry that has access to the public on a full-time basis. This reminds me of the comment of Talleyrand, a survivor of the French Revolution. “This was worse than a crime. It was a blunder.”
The executive agencies of the federal government have been operating outside the Constitution ever since the New Deal. This is nothing new. But when an agency invades the special interest of the news media, it has done something monumentally stupid. It has aroused a group that is determined to maintain its independence. It knows that it has the ability to inflict pain on bureaucrats by simply publicizing the truth. By inflicting enough pain, it can send a message: “Don’t do this again.”
By keeping this blunder in front of the public, the media can inflict a great deal of pain. Obama’s handlers think this will blow over. If the AP launches a lawsuit, it will not blow over. The CEO is threatening to do this.
The White House is now in containment mode. This prevents it from being able to ram new laws through the House of Representatives. The Republicans are in no mood to give Obama a political victory. All they have to do is hold hearings on all this, which they will do. Lots of hearings.