Bill Clinton was cheating on his wife? Anthony Weiner’s a perve? Yea, we knew those things. Just nice to see them confirmed in print, I guess.
So there’s something underwhelming about the IRS-Tea Party scandal. Conservatives have always known we’re under greater scrutiny. We don’t like big government, and so there’s no reason Big Government would like us.
Besides, as James Bovard writes in the WSJ, this has been going on for decades. Presidents from FDR to JFK to Richard Nixon used the IRS to harass political foes. In the late 1999, the Associated Press reported: ”officials in the Democratic White House and members of both parties in Congress have prompted hundreds of audits of political opponents in the 1990s.” And that didn’t even cause enough of a stir to force the Justice Department to track APs phone calls.
Yes, there are scandals here. If you work for the government and you’re called to testify before Congress, it’s best not to lie. If you attempt to cover up what you know, you’ll get caught eventually (it’s also a Washington truism that the cover up is always worse than the scandal, which is especially true when the cover up is an ugly blue dress).
“I wrote to the IRS three times last year after hearing concerns that conservative groups were being targeted,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R., Utah, says. “Yet it didn’t occur to anyone at the IRS to let us know that this targeting was in fact happening?” So there’s your cover up.
During Obama’s first term, a friendly press corps always stood ready to help advance his agenda. That’s why they never investigated his untrue claims about ObamaCare (won’t low-information voters be surprised when their premiums double or more), and it’s why — during the presidential debates — CNN’s Candy Crowley was all too ready to help the president along when he issued a misleading statement about Libya.
With the IRS and Associated Press phone stories, the press corps may finally be hearing its alarm clock. Better late than never.
As for the rest of us, we need to think bigger. “We can be almost certain that IRS audits will remain irresistible political weapons,” Bovard concludes. True, unless we get rid of the IRS. Think about it: If congress would pass a flat tax, there would be no need for the hated IRS. We could all file returns on the back of a postcard and forget all the complex math and stuff we need to do now.
Plus, the IRS is going to be pivotal in implementing ObamaCare, the first “health care” plan in the world that hires tax collectors instead of doctors and nurses. Get rid of the IRS, and you also deal a blow to ObamaCare. It’s a win-win, and a way that conservatives can use a Washington scandal to bring real change to Washington.