Judqe Finds Two Presidents Guilty: Political Commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano's New Book Explains How Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson Led the Charge in Undermining the Constitution
Kenny, Jack, The New American
Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom, by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012, 298 pages, hardcover.
Americans have always believed, more or less, in freedom, but liberty must have been wildly popular in the second decade of the 20th century. While the nation's doughboys were "Over There," fighting for liberty in Europe, other Americans were eating liberty cabbage (formerly sauerkraut) and keeping liberty dogs (formerly dachshunds) for pets. So great was the epidemic of patriotism in those heroic days that an undetermined number of Americans were pleased to be infected with liberty measles, rather than the German brand.
If some of that seems vaguely familiar now in the 21st century, it may be because foolishness is the world's most frequently recycled product, and the United States is a large and ready market. When France in 2003 refused to support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, expressions of American patriotism took on a decidedly anti-French tone. Freedom fries replaced French fries on restaurant menus. French toast became freedom toast. Fearful of a boycott, French's Mustard Company hired a public relations firm to spread the word that French's Mustard is not French, having derived its name from the company's founder, Robert T. French.
"For the record, French's would like to say there is nothing more American than French's Mustard," a company press release said.
Complete Power for the "National Government"
But American jingoism is not the only or even the worst of the many excesses of the so-called Progressive Era that Andrew Napolitano sees perpetuated in the politics of our time. The retired judge, bestselling author, and judicial analyst for Fox News argues in his latest book that the neocons of the Bush-Cheney presidency and the "progressives" of the current administration have followed in the ill-fated footsteps of the presidents he describes in Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.
Napolitano's indictment of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency (1901-1909) includes the creation of the Department of Labor and Commerce in 1903. Though the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the states, Roosevelt, with his new department and its Bureau of Corporations, had something grander in mind.
"I have always believed that it would be necessary to give the National Government complete power over the organization and capitalization of all business concerns engaged in inter-state commerce," he said. Roosevelt "capitalized on the public hysteria" created by Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Napolitano wrote, to push through Congress the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act, both in 1.906. Though widely viewed as an expose of the meat-packing industry, The Jungle was a novel, and Roosevelt regarded it as fiction in more than just literary form. "Three-fourths of the things he said were absolute falsehoods," Roosevelt said of Sinclair's book. "For some of the remainder there was only the basis of truth." Yet Roosevelt supported the legislation, Napolitano wrote, to "increase his popularity and control over another industry."
Caffeine and "Catsup"
Agents of the newly created Food and Drug Administration left no ketchup or cola bottle unturned in their relentless pursuit of corruption in commerce. Their efforts brought food manufacturers. processors, and distributors to the bar of justice, leading the way to landmark Supreme Court cases like United States v. Two Hundred Cases of Adulterated Tomato Catsup. In that 1914 case, the conviction of a ketchup manufacturer over "decomposed and adulterated" ketchup was upheld, though the court conceded there was no proof the ketchup would have been harmful to the health of the consumer. On the other hand, in United States v. …