"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, May 24, 2013

Connecting the Dots on the IRS Scandal

Would the President have really ordered the IRS to harass Tea Party groups in early 2010?   I think the answer is yes.   Consider the context:

  • The IG report on the IRS' targeting of conservatives pinpoints it as starting in March 2010.
  • In February 2010, a nut named Joseph Stack flew a small plane into the IRS building in Austin, TX.   He left behind a manifesto that, among other things, criticized the overly complex tax code.   (He also appeared to side with communism against capitalism, but that didn't get as much attention.)
  • Pundits such as Frank Rich of the New York Times immediately linked Stack to the Tea Party, albeit without any evidence:
"Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ''Tea Party terrorist.'' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner."  (2/28/2010)
  • Meanwhile, other liberal pundits like Leonard Pitts were arguing openly that the Tea Party was nothing more than racism against a black President:
"The tea party people distrust Mr. Obama's policies, his eloquence, his fierce intelligence, and the fact that he is black then becomes the final straw. To put that another way: I doubt most tea partiers hate Mr. Obama strictly because he is black, but it sure doesn't help." (2/28/2010)
Why were the pundits so exercised against the tea party and so fearful of its clout?   Because they were losing.   Only a month earlier, Republican Scott Brown out of nowhere had won the Senate seat of Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts, winning the special election for the seat on January 19th.    Polls were showing a majority of Americans didn't want to see Obama re-elected.

Losing makes you desperate.

  • Desperate enough for Obama to break tradition and openly attack the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address in late January 2010, specifically on the issue of campaign finance reform and the Citizens United decision.

Desperate enough to sic the IRS on your political enemies in the Tea Party?

I think that question answers itself.


Kudos to the WSJ and Kim Strassel for a great article providing still more context of the 2010 move to go after the Tea Party by the IRS.


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