So far the facts of the three scandals facing the Obama administration do not tie President Obama himself to the scandalous acts. Since Republicans can't yet indict President Obama, they're shifting to indicting all of liberalism. The IRS scandal, in particular, they say, is what happens when you have big government. "This is rotten to the core. This is arrogance. This is big-government cronyism," Rep. Paul Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. Ryan added, "We had a challenge in the campaign against empty rhetoric. Now the country is seeing what this kind of big unlimited government does in practice." If America had only voted for Paul Ryan for vice president, this would have never happened.… Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said something similar on Meet the Press, "What we’re talking about here is an attitude that the government knows best, the nanny state is here to tell us all what to do and if we start criticizing, you get targeted."
Conservatives bloggers are hunting for evidence to tie Obama closely to the scandals. The American Spectator reports that Obama met with the head of the IRS union the day before the Cincinnati field office began improperly targeting Tea Party groups. Breitbart News' Matthew Boyle reports that William Wilkins, the IRS's chief counsel, once "helped a church connected to" Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former preacher, with an investigation into its tax-exempt status. The Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel argues that Obama told the IRS agents what to do by giving speeches.
Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
McConnell strung together some of these ideas in his Meet the Press interview. "Actually, there is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration," he said. "The head of the union at the IRS gives 99 percent of her campaign money to Democrats. She openly criticizes the Republican House for trying to reduce government spending and has specifically targeted Tea Party groups in her public comments. It’s no wonder that the agents and the IRS sort of get the message." But when pressed by David Gregory whether he had any "evidence" that Obama directed the IRS to wage an intimidation campaign, McConnell backed down. "I don’t think we know what the facts are." Until the case is a little stronger than that, Republicans will have to argue that this was a case of trickle down ideology instead.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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