Of all the “phony scandals” that have plagued the Obama administration – (there’s not enough space on the worldwide web to list them all) – the worst, I think, is the one about the IRS targeting political opponents of the president. Why that one? How about … because it’s the IRS!
Every agency of the federal government has the ability to make our lives difficult. But the IRS, where American citizens are presumed guilty unless they can convince a G-8 level bureaucrat that they’re not, is especially scary.
Imagine if you were called in for an audit and you told the agent that you lost several years of records because your computer hard drive crashed and you then destroyed it. You think he’d buy that story?
But that’s what the IRS is telling us about Lois Lerner’s emails, two years worth that – poof! – just went bye-bye without a trace. No one with an IQ approaching room temperature could possibly believe that.
Richard Nixon, another president who knew something about scandals – (no one had the nerve to call his “phony”) – had his own version of the missing emails: an 18 ½ minute gap in the secret recordings he made in the Oval Office. No one believed the story about how Rose Mary Woods, his personal assistant, accidentally erased the tapes. Everyone knew there was something really, really, incriminating on those 18 ½ minutes, so the loyal Ms. Woods did what she felt she had to do.
Same with the disappearing emails, except for a few things. Nixon knew the noose was tightening because he lost the support of his own party. No less a figure than Barry Goldwater, Mr. Conservative, looked Nixon in the eye and told him it was time to go. Barack Obama has no Barry Goldwater. He has Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and a bunch of other acolytes who gulped down the Kool-Aid then said, may I have more, please.
And back in the day, there was something called a free press that understood its role in a free country like ours. It was to keep an eye on government; to make sure it didn’t use its substantial power recklessly; to expose our highest officials if they were corrupt.
Barack Obama need not worry. The toadies in his party echo the “phony scandal” strategy and tell anyone who will listen that Republicans are simply playing partisan politics. According to them, the IRS never went after conservatives. The emails blew up because, well, stuff happens. But at some point common sense matters. That’s why most Americans don’t buy the IRS story.
A long time ago, the great sports writer Red Smith said that Willie Mays’ glove is where triples go to die. Today, it’s the Oval Office where scandals go to die – not because President Obama personally wrote memos telling his IRS lackeys to go after his opponents. Rather, it’s because he picked an Attorney General to run the Justice Department who conjures up memories of Nixon’s pal John Mitchell, another political hack who ran that president’s Justice Department. Eric Holder simply will not take a hard look at what went on at the IRS, because he and his boss (who said there wasn’t a “smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS) don’t want to know.
Then there’s that other loyal ally of the president — a compliant mainstream media that have happily abdicated their role in a democracy. They have too much invested in this president, and his historical significance, to start behaving like real journalists now.