More Carney: I'm sure people in the White House were aware tea-party groups were complaining about the IRS

And no one there picked up the phone to find out from the IRS if it was true, even though Obama himself called the agency’s behavior “outrageous” yesterday, huh? The money line in the clip comes at 46 seconds in, when Carney talks about maintaining “distance” between the IRS and the White House so that the agency isn’t “politicized.” But … according to tea partiers, it had already been politicized; the White House could have intervened to end the politicization. Why didn’t it? Is this part of the IRS’s “permission structure”?

Meanwhile, be on the lookout for a fun new minimizing angle on all this from Obama’s defenders:

Jon Stewart made a similar point last night. Harassing tea partiers is bad, but perhaps the more grievous wrong committed by the IRS is how it’s hurt liberals by making it harder to defend activist government against those darned wingnuts. (Never mind that the cause of activist government has persisted throughout decades of the IRS hassling people from different sides of the political spectrum.) The same goes for Pigford, I guess: Alleged tinfoil-hat-wearers like Andrew Breitbart howled about that for years, to the collective yawns of the media, until the NYT announced a few weeks ago that Breitbart had been right all along. Presumably the real tragedy in Pigford isn’t the corruption, the waste of taxpayer money, or the media’s persistent incuriosity, it’s the fact that it put liberals on the defensive. Who knows? If this vindication of nuttery continues, people might start leaping to the conclusion that a pile of government wrongs means there’s something wrong with government. Or, even worse, that a smaller government might be less susceptible to corruption.

Exit question: Who wrote the following defense of pursuing scandals to wherever they might lead in the name of limiting executive power? “In Washington, scandals metastasize, growing and changing until we can’t remember what they were about in the beginning. A bungled burglary became a cancer on the presidency, forcing Richard Nixon to resign in disgrace. A money-losing Arkansas real estate deal led to Monica, a blue dress and Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Already, the furor over the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys has shifted focus from the crass but essentially routine exercise of political patronage to the essential project of George W. Bush’s presidency: its deliberate and aggressive efforts to expand and protect Executive power.” Answer here.