In the last couple weeks, it has been astonishing to watch Democrats once again abandoning a core principle — in this case the protection of the free press — to excuse another abuse of the Obama Administration. The new talking point for defenders of the Obama Administration is that it is really not that bad to seize the records of journalists or label a journalist a potential criminal co-conspirator so long as they are not actually prosecuted. None however are quite so adamant as Georgetown Professor and MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Eric Dyson who called Eric Holder our “law giver” and “the Moses of our time.” In this case, of course, Moses came down from the mountain and endorsed the killing of any citizen deemed a national security threat, allowed warrantless surveillance, blocked public interest challenges to abuses of power, and attacked the free press. While some of us believe Holder should be fired, Dyson apparently believes Holder should be be beatified.
Here is Dyson holding forth on the miracle that is Holder:
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the attorney general should step down too – off of that plateau where he resides in high principle and whip some head. But he shouldn’t give up his office. What he should understand is he’s the chief law giver of the United States of America so to speak. He’s the Moses of our time, and at least for this administration.
So, yes, some people want to put him outside of the ark of the legal community. That’s just ridiculous. He is the bully, he is in one sense the whipping boy for so much of the frustration of the right-wing. As Joy Reid has brilliantly indicated, their inability to reconcile themselves to the fact they lost the election means that they will be perennially pursuing a person like an Eric Holder. In sense, they perceive him to be the most vulnerable. They attack him. But I think what he has to do is continue to hold fast. I think the president has given strong indication that he will support Mr. Holder, and, therefore, together they should go forward.
And here’s the real problem. The real problem is it’s not against the law to leak classified information. That’s what we need to get into our sights here. That what we need to do is shore up the law. Not figure out how to scandalize the name of Eric Holder or President Obama. Let’s deal with the undergirding legal principles that are not present, and as a result of that figure out a way to get beyond this morass. Otherwise we’re going to repeat this in the next administration and the administration after that as well.
Dyson captures particularly the cult of personality surrounding this president. Not even the protection of the free press is enough to break faith with this president. By the way, last time I check, leaking classified information was a crime so we can move beyond the view that “The real problem is it’s not against the law to leak classified information.” Moreover, in our tripartite system, Holder is not a law giver of any kind. He is supposed to be enforcing the laws given by others — specifically the legislative branch — and of course protecting the Constitution.
As I mentioned in my surprising disagreement with CNN’s Jeff Tobin last night on the Situation Room, no one denies that such leaks can be crimes. It is how they are investigated. There was no excuse for this fishing expedition into the records of journalists. Also, Bashir joins Dyson in mocking the concerns of journalists that the Administration searched these records since the targets were not prosecuted. He laughed with Dyson at the fact that Rosen was described as a potential criminal co-conspirator. It is perfectly other worldly. The free press rests on guarantees of confidentiality. The administration attacked that guarantee and in so doing created a chilling effect on the work of all reporters.
As for Moses, I shudder to think who Dyson considers to be the Messiah that Holder is foretelling . . . but I can guess.