Monday, May 13, 2013

Nothing political here

Move right along

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie "the actor" Sutton is famously but falsely said to have replied: "that's where the money is."  Perhaps the IRS has been thinking along the same lines by targeting groups using words like "patriot" and agitating against "how the government is run" and about the debt. Far Right think tanks and agitators tend to have rich supporters.

According to some, Jewish groups as well have been selected for special handling, whether pro-Israel or purely religious.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps  it's all political, a claim which was and is the standard Republican answer for any charges against Nixon.

The comparison with Richard Nixon and his enemies list is inescapable although we certainly don't have audio tapes of President Obama telling Jimmy Graham that we need to go after the Jews who are "ruining the country."  Even for long term and relentless Nixon defenders, the opportunity to suggest impeachment, to demand impeachment now is so irresistible that it seems at long last to be acceptable for perennial supporters to remind us of Tricky Dick's tricks even though the dismissal of such charges as political is maintained.

We know Nixon was behind a "weaponized" IRS, but do we have a smoking tape of Obama?  I doubt it but that difference will be forgotten. It happened under his watch and that's enough.   Claims that the IRS is independent won't matter. Questions about whether the IRS was politically motivated to take down Al Capone won't arise nor did anyone accuse President Hoover of such things.

Of course there have been so many ridiculous claims against Barack Obama of  impeachable 'high crimes' already that the demands of the self-righteous Right don't quite have the desired effect on the unconverted and those who catalog Republican transgressions.  Still, people like Smugster George sWill aren't going to let it go and the attack on possible 2016 candidates will be joined by increasingly nasal and polyphonic choruses of  Sic Semper Tyrannis. 

sWill, wearing his outrage costume on ABC's This Week, tells us " all hell" would have broken loose had Bush used the IRS against progressives and his poker face never twitches as he forgets about the political assassination of Valerie Plame and other scandals to voluminous to list.  And of course that Bush might in fact be guilty of the same thing isn't quite obscured by the standard props of  Gerogewillian pomposity.

But the level of 'truthiness' in charges against several presidents, including Bill Clinton for using IRS harassment in retaliation against personal lawsuits is significant and of course it's scary.  Anyone who has been through an audit knows that,  and Obama has no choice to make an open investigation rather than to invoke Executive Privilege as his predecessor was wont to do.  But regardless of  who the Special Prosecutor might be and regardless of evidence or lack thereof, I can already smell the stink of  American politics once again.

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