James Risen, the First Amendment, Congress, and the Emperor Hussein
And that's why the Risen case matters. I have to admit I'm of two minds about it. As a former police and federal court beat reporter, I had to go before the majesty of the law a couple of times (with Gannett Co., Inc. lawyers) to explain why I wasn't going to testify in this or that matter, mostly involving my professional demimonde of corrupt cops, hookers, junkies, thugs, drug dealers and murderers. (Much of that milieu and ambiance made it into my first novel, Exchange Alley.) On the other, as a small-d democrat, I believe we are all capital-C Citizens, with all the rights, duties and obligations pertaining thereto.
But the administration's palpable lust to go after him, and Fox News's James Rosen, and the Associated Press, et al., sends an unmistakable message: displease the Emperor Hussein at your own risk. A man who's been pampered and coddled all his life, told he is the Second Coming -- hell, a guy who graduated from Punahou, the elite prep school serving the white aristocracy of a brown island chain (and the only high school in Hawaii where young Barry was guaranteed not to blend right in) -- is not about to accept petty constitutional restrictions on his freedom of action; the presidency (as Lincoln and Wilson and FDR taught us) is what you make of it, and no office in the American system of government rewards Nietzsche's Will to Power more than the Oval Office.
What will become of the Emperor Hussein's collision with Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founders, however, remains to be seen. Those of us on the right continue to have faith in the Framers' vision of a country of yeomen Citizens, moderated but otherwise unshackled by a distant federal government in the swamp along the banks of the Potomac, "regulated" in the sense of "made regular," not "controlled"; were it left to us, everything not enumerated in the Constitution to the feds would be forbidden, the people and the states would be restored to their Ninth and Tenth Amendment sovereignty, and life would go on much the same as it did prior to the rise of Regressivism during the Wilson administration and the arrival of the communist Frankfurt School before we rescued it from Nazi Germany and transplanted its intellectual pretension and moral evil to Columbia University. And that most definitely includes the civil rights movement, utterly constitutional, morally correct, and emphatically supported by the original anti-slavery party, the GOP.
But whether, at this point, there are enough of us remains to be seen; most Americans in flyover country aren't obsessed with politics the way their blue-state brethren are, and don't make politics their life's work. They're the Makers, not the Takers, and it never occurs to them that a sizable part of the country, perhaps now a majority, from the president on down, is devoted to plundering the productive class. That's the real meaning of "fundamental transformation," and if Barack Obama succeeds in effecting it, he'll go down in history as the most successful president in American history. And also the last.
Think about that.