Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 23, 2013 by Allahpundit

For years, administration officials have used the power of the federal government to isolate their opponents. Meanwhile, the unionized employees who populate the IRS and other agencies across the country routinely take their cues from union bosses, whose political donations and speeches show their support for the White House. When it comes to rewarding friends and punishing enemies, the IRS is not alone…

The spread of the speech police under the Obama administration has long been apparent. We all saw the president’s reelection team using the politics of intimidation, with old-school “enemies lists” and explicit attacks on groups and other private citizens. At the same time, the administration has been extremely creative in employing throughout the federal government the sorts of intimidation tactics that were used at the IRS…

These tactics are straight out of the left-wing playbook: Expose your opponents to public view, release the liberal thugs and hope the public pressure or unwanted attention scares them from supporting causes you oppose.

***

But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.

Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting.

***

If we give the president the benefit of the doubt and assume he knows the truth is going to come out, the question remains: Does the administration appoint the special prosecutor sooner or later? The calculus inside the White House is how to best protect the president’s political interests. They have two options. They could delay the appointment and let more of the story develop, weather the ugly piecemeal disclosures, give the players time to get their stories straight and lawyer-up and hope Republicans continue their overreach, giving the whole affair a nutty partisan patina. Or, they could accelerate the appointment of a special prosecutor, thereby slowing the congressional inquiries and giving Jay Carney some relief from his daily embarrassing routine by supplying him with the escape hatch of not being allowed to comment on matters associated with the special prosecutor’s ongoing investigation. Not to mention, the White House all the while could blast the appointed counsel as a partisan ideologue à la the hatchet job that was done on Ken Starr.

Anyway, if the president is innocent, he will end up needing and wanting a special prosecutor sooner rather than later. If he and his White House already have too much to hide, then they must clam up, cry partisanship and hope their allies on the Hill and in the media have the stamina for the long, hard slog ahead.

***

The second reason to bring in a special prosecutor is that it’s the surest way to get answers the public might trust. The Republicans are not so much looking for “the truth” as they are looking for a resonant story line – whether it is Mitch McConnell’s theme that Obama has begotten “a culture of intimidation” (not that anybody seems very intimidated, least of all the Tea Party) or confirmation that Government Is The Problem, or the more plausible argument that the White House is too often AWOL. The Democrats, for their part, are not so much looking for “the truth” as trying to change the subject: it’s about the flood of special interest money from undisclosed donors, it’s about underfunding of the government, it’s about the desperate need for tax reform. What it’s about is this: at least one I.R.S. outpost engaged in behavior that was at best stupid and at worst alarming. It’s about shoring up America’s trust in its government, and in this president.

The third reason for a special counsel is that the government has serious business to conduct, and the scandal circus on Capitol Hill is a terrible distraction. Oversight, so-called, is what we do these days instead of passing a budget, reforming the immigration system, or processing the countless government and judicial appointments awaiting confirmation. Handing off the I.R.S. problem to a special counsel and putting congressional hearings on hold would allow everyone, including journalists, to turn their attention to all that unfinished business.

***

The moment a prosecutor — special or otherwise — takes over, the public flow of information stops. All witnesses will claim that the pendency of a criminal investigation means they cannot discuss the matter “on advice of counsel.” They will cease cooperating with congressional investigators. The prosecutor will claim that grand-jury secrecy rules bar comment about the expansive investigation (a claim the government routinely makes, even though the rules actually bar comment only by the prosecutor, investigative agents, and grand jurors — not the witnesses).

Public disclosure should be the goal here. It is the one thing that has driven the IRS story to this point. Public disclosure of the shockingly intrusive harassment of the president’s political opponents, the prohibitive legal and regulatory expenses imposed on ordinary people for merely exercising their right to participate in the political process, is what has broken through the administration’s Obamedia fortress. Yet public disclosure is precisely what would be lost if Congress were to punt its oversight responsibilities to a special counsel…

There will be plenty of time later to prosecute wrongdoers. The statute of limitations on most federal crimes is five years. At the moment, what’s called for is a public reckoning for the IRS: an investigation designed to shine the light of day on what actually happened, who was involved (whether or not they are criminally culpable as opposed to just sleazy), who should be pressured to resign — or should be removed — from public office, and how government revenue collection should be restructured to ensure it cannot be used as a partisan weapon. That kind of investigation would demand the media’s continuing attention. It can be done only by Congress — and would be best done, as would the Benghazi investigation, by a select committee that issues subpoenas and holds public hearings.

***

Unlike his predecessor, Obama was supposed to be smart. He was supposed to be ethical and judicious in his use of executive power. More than anything, he was supposed to “turn the page” on the ugly chapter of American history known as the Bush era.

As new revelations come out on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Department of Justice’s war against journalists, the irony for Obama is that the less he’s directly implicated, the deeper indictment it is for his governing political philosophy.

After all, if a president were simply incompetent or dishonest, it would be much easier to argue that a change in leadership could lead to better results. But if Obama is a bright, honest and decent man, yet the government has gotten so big that low-level bureaucrats can go rogue and choose to target groups based on their ideologies, then there’s a much more fundamental problem.

***

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

***

“It’s clear the government is too large … nobody knows what’s going on… and you’re going to take all these people who don’t know what’s going on and put them in charge of the largest expansion of government in history? It’s hard to imagine what’s going to happen, but it’s probably not going to be good.”

***



Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

John the Libertarian on May 24, 2013 at 2:33 AM

lolz..Good deal!..Let’s pass it on to our children and we will have completed the circle..:)

Dire Straits on May 24, 2013 at 2:45 AM

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 2:41 AM

Thanks for the link friend..:)

Dire Straits on May 24, 2013 at 2:47 AM

Dire Straits on May 24, 2013 at 2:45 AM

Goodnight, Dire!

John the Libertarian on May 24, 2013 at 2:49 AM

Holy BOINK:

Moscow Shaker:

Carry On,…….Night once again Patriots:)

Update: Tremors were felt in central Moscow, prompting some people to evacuate from buildings – @AP

Submitted 5 mins ago by editor
==============================

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 2:50 AM

John the Libertarian on May 24, 2013 at 2:49 AM

It has been my honor..Good night..:)

Dire Straits on May 24, 2013 at 3:06 AM

Bureaucrats NEVER unilaterally undertake illegal, politically explosive operations.

The day before the IRS started attacking Americans in a bid to deny them their 1st amendment rights, Obama met at the WH with the rabidly anti-Tea Party president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley. Kelley’s Union has inordinate influence within the IRS. Their meeting was not coincidental. They did not meet to exchange recipes…

The organization True the Vote was attacked by the IRS, FBI, ATF and OSHA. That degree of coordination comes from the WH. True the Vote is a Texas based organization seeking non-profit status. It’s focus is voter verification. It’s founder worked at voting stations and was appalled at the amount of voter fraud she witnessed in 2009.

True the Vote was targeted because it threatened to derail attainment of the left’s goal; Texas’ electoral college votes moving into the democrat column would guarantee effective one-party rule in America. This bid to deny American’s their 1st amendment rights came straight from Obama. Only ideological apologists and the willfully obtuse can deny it. Obama’s handprints are all over the greatest political scandal in American history.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on May 24, 2013 at 4:27 AM

MUST-SEE VIDEO AT BREITBART:

Wow… Just. Effin’. Wow.

<a href="http://“>Senator Obama calls for the Attorney General to step down

PointnClick on May 24, 2013 at 5:28 AM

good morning HA crew!

hope all is well for our HA family in seattle, wow just heard about the bridge collapse on I5….

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:34 AM

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Happy Friday, fave morning person!

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:36 AM

Obama’s previously unreported speech:

Good evening fellow travelers. Allah be with you all. Jihad is working, my Muslim brothers and sisters. We need a little more time. We have three and a half years. The national debt of the Great Satan is growing. By the end of my term America will be on her knees. We are counterfeiting American currency as fast as we can. Future generations of the Infidel will be weak and broken. Allah Akbar. Death to America. I am doing my best with Marxism. There is resistance. Well, there is no resistance from the Democrats–not surprising. We are dumbing down the children of the Infidel as fast as we can. We have full control of the public schools. We have the media. We have Hollywood. We have the unions. We are in control. America will be dead in ten years. Allah is smiling on us.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on May 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:36 AM

aw shucks

morning Liam :)

so do we have a pool going for what the 5pm friday afternon news dump is going to be? its a holiday weekend so who knows what they’ll drop

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on May 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

+1

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:40 AM

morning Liam :)

so do we have a pool going for what the 5pm friday afternon news dump is going to be? its a holiday weekend so who knows what they’ll drop

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Whatever it is, it’s going to suck. Liberals can’t be any other way.

Hey — Did you see the Weiner thread? If you want a long laugh, the puns were flying! I bookmarked it.

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:42 AM

when dear leader makes eric holder investigate eric holder something is seriously wrong….will the lsm actually question this or just let it go with dear leader is showing leadership, he’s awesome!

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:43 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:42 AM

i did….as Ed said Drudge won the day for internet headlines…

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:45 AM

he’s awesome!

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:43 AM

Much the same way as a pothead saying, “I took an awesome sh*t this morning!”

Sorry that I’m not impressed.

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM

nyt praising dear leader’s terrorism speech…it was awesome, one of his best and the mj crew agrees natch

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM

yup

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:49 AM

i did….as Ed said Drudge won the day for internet headlines…

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Our fellows, with all their puns, had me in stitches for more than an hour. I’m a fiend for puns, and they had me laughing so hard I could barely type.

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:49 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:49 AM

:) HA rocks!!

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

:) HA rocks!!

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

To be sure!

Except for the trolls.

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 6:57 AM

Happy Friday, y’all!

I don’t look to a man to get pride in myself. It’s not about having a black president, it’s about having a good president, and I think that’s the most important thing.

Lt. Col. Allen West

Obama Runs the Ol’ Bait ‘n Switch “Oh, Look…Squirrel!” My take.

kingsjester on May 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM

kingsjester on May 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM

great take KJ :)

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:01 AM

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Now that it’s Friday, how about you kidnap hubby again? He’ll never expect it!

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 7:02 AM

mj crew following the squirrel this am KJ..only wants to talk about his speech…most important speech evah!!

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:02 AM

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Now that it’s Friday, how about you kidnap hubby again. He’ll never expect it!

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 7:02 AM

can’t this weekend…family stuff going on

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:04 AM

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:04 AM

Too bad Caesar’s Resorts no longer exist.

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 7:07 AM

so do we have a pool going for what the 5pm friday afternon news dump is going to be? its a holiday weekend so who knows what they’ll drop

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Lois Lerner, the lying Christian-hating whore, got put on paid administrative leave yesterday so it isn’t that. Nevertheless, my money is on some nagging little detail about the IRS using their authority to smite the enemies of the rat-eared coward.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 7:08 AM

joe is giddy, ‘this president has changed the structure on the war on terror’

oh yeah kj, they definitely have their squirrel…

Allah, it was a distraction that lasted more than 7 hours my friend….

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Liam on May 24, 2013 at 7:07 AM

:)

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 7:08 AM

good one…

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:10 AM

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Thank you, ma’am!

kingsjester on May 24, 2013 at 7:10 AM

well that was quick…all the hemming and hawing over dear leader’s actions has turned back to a lovefest for him by the lsm…

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:28 AM

This is garbage. The Journolisters are defending The Magnificent One. Of Course the Chief Executive is responsible. Suddenly IRS, Justice and WH are losing memory.

Is someone telling me that when Bengazhi was happening, Presedent wasn’t aware. Heck… State was watching it Live.

Keep drilling.

Bengazhi is the biggest Scandal.

antisocial on May 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM

antisocial on May 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM

i guess that little meeting at the wh with the lib press worked…

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

Lois Lerner, the lying Christian-hating whore, got put on paid administrative leave yesterday so it isn’t that. Nevertheless, my money is on some nagging little detail about the IRS using their authority to smite the enemies of the rat-eared coward.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 7:08 AM

You know its really bad news when the Friday News Dump starts on a Thursday or Wednesday… it’s been doing that for three weeks now.

And for the Special Prosecutor deal… well there is a true oversight function by Congress and it is a two-part affair. First is to find out what is going on in agencies and departments. You have to get to the bottom of things and find out what the problem is.

Part two is changing laws and budgets, with the former being the fastest and most effective as you can start axing entire sections of agencies and departments by not funding them and cutting personnel right out of the budget. If the R’s were smart and went back to the right way to budget, that is by agency or department, then this would be a precise tool to cut out rot and cancer in the government. Instead the multi-agency slush fund approach means that agencies can shift resources between themselves in the slush fund to make up for mandated losses in cash. The personnel part, however, hits no matter what. Congress can start out by saying that for every ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t recall’ or ‘I only became aware of it last week’ they can cut 1% of the budget and personnel from an agency and for every 5th taken that is a 5% reduction: these people are supposed to answer questions to Congress about how they are carrying out the laws MADE by Congress. If the culture is one of deception, then the funding should start to dry up and hard.

Since the House starts the budget and has the purse strings, then that is where it must start and even with the Reidless non-budget agencies and departments look to the House for how they are to use funds. The problem now is Boehner and the House leadership being unwilling to do the hard work of by agency and department funding… which he promised to do leading into 2010 and then dropped the ball on the moment there was a Republican majority. If you want specific powers and functions cut off the place to start is the House and there the Democratic and Republican leadership are unwilling to do that. Once Upon A Time the US Congress used to be jealous of the power it held and keep everyone on a tight leash in the government. This is what happens when they get lazy and try to get the Executive to do their jobs for them.

These Congresscritters VOLUNTEER for their jobs and now seek to excuse not doing it via the abuse of power they have delegated improperly. Even to the dim bulbs lacking enough wattage to even get a glow in their heads, this needs to be stated directly to them: you wanted this job now DO IT AS YOU SAID YOU WOULD DO or QUIT and let the people find someone who is CAPABLE OF DOING IT.

ajacksonian on May 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

ajacksonian on May 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

well said aj

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 7:47 AM

The Republicans We at the heart of low information journalism, The New York Times, are not so much looking for “the truth” as they are looking for a resonant story line

The dumbest coming out of our journalism schools do like to project, don’t they?

MNHawk on May 24, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Interesting post. I found it through a link at Physics Geek’s website:

http://www.bookwormroom.com/2013/05/18/is-the-irs-scandal-the-worst-political-scandal-in-american-history-i-say-yes/

The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.

Fallon on May 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Whenever you change the founding principles of an organization you announce it’s doom!

RedLizard64 on May 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4