Fact: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups requesting tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. That’s a fact.
Congress held hearings — embarrassing hearings. Three top Internal Revenue Service officials resigned. No heads rolled, but for the Obama administration, and the lawless Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., that amounted to a major scandal. Even White House spokesman Jay “Circus” Carney called the IRS’ actions “inappropriate.” Fact.
But President Obama, in an interview last week with sycophant Chris Matthews, now says the entire scandal was made up by the media.
“When we do things right, they don’t get a lot of attention,” the president said, no doubt sending a thrill up the MSNBC host’s leg. “If we do something that is perceived at least initially as a screw-up, it will be on the nightly news for a week.”
Like, say, deploying the nation’s tax watchdog to target political opponents? Just a “screw-up.”
COVERAGE: Tea Party Voices
You bet. Manufactured in the media.
“If, on the other hand,” Mr. Obama said, ” you’ve got an office in Cincinnati in the IRS office that, I think for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether nonprofit is actually a political organization, deserves a tax exempt agency [sic], and they’ve got a list. Suddenly everyone is outraged.
“And I’ll point out there are some so-called progressives and, you know, perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week just were outraged at the possibility that these folks, you know, had been at the direction of the Democratic Party, in some way discriminated against tea party folks. You know, that is what gets news. That’s what gets attention.”
Uh, yeah. That’s what “gets news.” In fact, that’s also what gets presidents impeached (see Nixon, Richard re: Watergate).
Like Benghazi, when Obama officials like Susan E. Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton — even the president himself — tried to make up a narrative that the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound was spontaneous and only about some obscure YouTube video, the story that America’s top officials tried to ply on the IRS scandal was that a few rogue workers had committed some transgressions. No scandal here, they said.
Of course, that was the red flag. No one knew? (Of course, that is the mantra of the Obama administration — no one ever knows anything. They had three years to build the Obamacare website, and when it didn’t work, well … No one knew! Sheesh, get off our backs!)
Although the president is busy trying to change the subject, this time to income inequality, the IRS story just won’t disappear. Last week, Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had simply had enough. He called out the IRS’ chief counsel, William Wilkins, for saying “I don’t recall” a staggering 80 times during his congressional testimony last month.
“Your memory consistently failed when you were asked about information you shared with the Treasury Department,” the lawmaker wrote. “Your failure to recollect important aspects of the Committee’s investigation suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part.”
Funny, the Obama administration, in Year 5, is totally fine with “gross incompetence.” Many warned that these guys weren’t ready for prime time. They said they were.
But really, they weren’t. And like with Obamacare, all they can say is it’s not our fault. Worse, no one seems to know anything. But as everyone knows, ignorance is no excuse.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.