An instant classic via NRO. If you’re tempted to pat him on the back for this sharp lurch back towards skepticism of government, consider two things. One: I don’t think he’s changed his mind on background checks, the IRS’s malfeasance notwithstanding. His complaint appears to be more rhetorical than substantive — i.e., it’s unfortunate that it’s suddenly become harder to convince people to give government more power over guns, because government really should have that power. Maybe I’m misunderstanding him but I doubt it. Two: Why did he need a (pardon the pun) smoking gun of federal wrongdoing to remind him that a national gun registry isn’t such a nutty thing to worry about? This guy was a member of the Republican class of ’94. He should know in his bones, without needing sporadic reminders, that abuses like the IRS’s are possible. Just last month, Missouri’s state government got caught leaking a list of concealed-carry permit holders to the feds. At least one Democrat in Congress freely admits that she’d support a national registry. Twice in the past six months, major publications have posted the names of local gun owners as an intimidation tactic. There’s every reason to worry about federal employees abusing personal information related to gun ownership given the ferocity of liberal opposition to gun rights. Why did Scarborough need the IRS to crap the bed to remind him of it?
I can only assume he’s become a bit more sanguine about government because Obama’s first term lacked the sort of scandals that are blowing up on him now, but that misses the point. Ultimately the IRS scandal isn’t an “Obama scandal,” it’s a “big government scandal.” Things like this are destined to happen sooner or later because, perversely, his pal Axelrod is right: The bigger government gets, the less oversight and accountability there is. And since we know which side of the political spectrum is most likely to populate the ranks of careerist public employees, conservatives should have special worries about being unfairly targeted. Go figure that they’re not keen on expanding gun control, or on ObamaCare.