WASHINGTON – The road to confirmation of Thomas Perez as labor secretary got more dicey last week in the wake of a speech by the Republicans’ leading Hispanic, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, against the Obama administration’s emerging pattern of “intimidation.”

In a floor speech about the scandals raining down on President Obama, Rubio said Senate confirmation of Perez “would be bad for the country at any time, but more so now. He has a history of using the government, and his position in the government, of intimidating people into doing what he wants them to do.”

Prior to last week’s disclosures, Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights who was raised in Amherst, would probably have squeaked through a Senate confirmation because of Republican fears of offending Hispanic voters. With Rubio’s vocal opposition, the GOP may use Rubio’s speech as ethnic inoculation to block a floor vote.

The front page of Brown University’s latest alumni monthly magazine will not help Perez, class of ’83. He is pictured grim and grizzled with the headline, “The Enforcer.” Perez is a protégé of Attorney General Eric Holder, who symbolizes the administration’s arbitrariness, its penchant for untrammeled growth of central power, secrecy and shameless breaches of the Constitution.

Instead of being the attorney general for all the people, Holder, like Nixon’s John N. Mitchell, has become a swaggering ideological operative here and across the country, deciding which parts of the law will and will not be enforced by the regime. He is a crafter of political wedges and voting blocs.

Obama should never have nominated Holder in the first place, and the Senate should have denied him confirmation on ethical grounds. Holder played the key role in laundering President Bill Clinton’s approval of a pardon for Marc Rich, a Democratic donor and fugitive from justice.

The regime’s two-month sweep of the telephones of the Associated Press by the “Justice” Department is despicable. The AP’s Capitol press gallery phone was among them. This means that conversations with members of the House and Senate, as well as their staffs, part of a supposedly separate branch of government, were intercepted and compromised. No confidential source, no congressional critic of the Obama regime, no whistle blower will feel safe again talking to the AP, the nation’s prime gatherer of news.

With the Obama government now freely intercepting and storing any electronic communications it wishes – without a judge’s warrant – you don’t have a situation like a police state. You have a police state.

Holder should be out, like yesterday. He should be fired, or resign or be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. A new Rasmussen poll shows only 42 percent think Holder did wrong, another sad index of this country’s constitutional deafness.

The crisis has its ironies. While Obama’s people were spying on the AP and its sources, Pro Publica, a well-heeled do-gooder foundation linked to some of the most distinguished figures in legacy media, accepted and illegally disseminated tax information on conservative groups. The Internal Revenue Service eagerly provided this to its pals in Pro Publica in the run-up to the president’s re-election.

The incestuous ties between the media powers on Pro Publica’s board and the regime may help explain why the public’s reaction to the atrocity against the AP has been so brief and muted. But IRS harassment didn’t stop at conservative and traditionalist groups. It victimized individual volunteers and religious leaders whose beliefs might be out of synch with the president’s statist template.

To survive, Obama needs to do much more than hastily shuffle another rank of true believers into jobs at the IRS and the offices running Obamacare.