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The IRS and the public: what’s a “bombshell” these days?

The IRS and the public: what’s a “bombshell” these days?

As opposed to what should be considered a bombshell?

I refer you to this column by Peggy Noonan entitled “A Bombshell in the IRS Scandal”:

The IRS scandal was connected this week not just to the Washington office—that had been established—but to the office of the chief counsel.

That is a bombshell—such a big one that it managed to emerge in spite of an unfocused, frequently off-point congressional hearing…What the IRS originally claimed was a rogue operation now reaches up not only to the Washington office, but into the office of the IRS chief counsel himself [one of only two Obama political appointees in the agency]…

This is the moment things go forward or stall. Republicans need to find out how high the scandal went and why, exactly, it went there. To do that they’ll have to up their game.

True, as far as it goes. The only problem is that, even if Republicans were to “up their game”—and it’s not immediately apparent they will be willing and/or able to do that—what is the available remedy? At this point, even were the investigation to discover a trail leading all the way to the president, and even if such involvement were considered an impeachable offense, does anyone honestly think that enough Democrats in the Senate would vote “guilty” to achieve the two-thirds majority required to remove Obama from office if the Republican House managed to impeach him?

Short of direct presidential involvement, although some lower-down officials may be sacrificed, it becomes a question of the response of the voting public to the “bombshell.” But Obama is not going to be running for re-election, and voters who might be outraged by these further revelations in the IRS scandal are probably plenty enraged already. Many of them have suspected White House involvement from the start, and so to them this is no bombshell; they never swallowed the “rogue workers in Cincinnati” explanation in the first place.

There is also a large segment of the population who are either unconcerned with the entire issue, or have applauded the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups rather than opposing it. The latter group appear to be ignorant of the general danger that could come from politicizing an agency such as the IRS. As long as that agency’s political shenanigans are in alignment with their own political persuasion, their attitude is “right on.” To this particular group, the basic principles that preserve our republic are not the point. Nor do they seem all that concerned with the practical implications of their stance, the prospect that if you support such malfeasance when your side does it, the same could be done to you someday when the other side comes to power. Perhaps they calculate that the right never will come to power again. Or perhaps they think that, if and when it does, the right will exhibit more devotion to the rules than the left has.

A month ago a CNN poll found the public fairly evenly split as to whether the White House was involved in the IRS imbroglio. In addition, only 51% of respondents considered the IRS controversy itself to be very important, a depressingly small number considering the crucial issues involved. The split tended to be along party lines, too; no surprise there.

Would a poll taken today be any different? Perhaps, although it’s not at all clear how many people are paying close attention even now. Of course, scandals (Watergate, Lewinsky) have historically tended to emerge rather slowly and build over time as evidence amasses. But the multiple messes the Obama administration is facing this term have had the paradoxical effect of causing a certain amount of outrage fatigue. The fear is that, for way too many people, what should ordinarily have been a “bombshell” has become business as usual.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Additionally we have the know-nothing citizens who believe the talking points, regardless of reality.

ColonialGal | July 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

What are you suggesting here do nothing?

The only way a scandal can become a serious issue with the voters is through the kind of reporting once seen in this country, but which no longer exists—at least not with a progressive in the White House. If the IRS was covered with the the same zeal as Abu Ghraib, which had NO IMPACT on Americans daily lives, one would expect a greater outcry from the public.

chilipalmer | July 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

What’s really a ‘bombshell’ anymore? The GOP let their pal Obama get away with mass murder on Fast & Furious, so I doubt a little IRS scam bothers them. Though it’s nice to know the IRS scandal is now in the office of a top Obama IRS appointee. As to what kind of a ‘game’ does the GOP have these days? None. The fact is the Tea Party was no threat to democrats. It was a mortal threat to the GOP who put all their effort into defeating every shred of the TP in 2012. The GOP owes Obama big time for helping them beat the TP. A front page Dec. 2012 NY Times piece said the GOP fought the TP for its life and won. NPR said it was better for Boehner that Obama was re-elected, Boehner now had clout to banish House TP’ers. The NY Times begged Karl Rove to save them from the Tea Party which he did with help from Obama, Rupert Murdoch, and Fox News. The remaining TP, not the democrats, are still enemy #1 of the GOP. Many TP applications still haven’t been processed. Obviously, it’s in the GOP’s interest for TP apps. to be held up indefinitely.

    RickCaird in reply to chilipalmer. | July 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Well, th TEA Party was a threat to Democrats in 2010, but neutralized in 2012. If it erupts again in 2014, it will be a real threat to Obama as he will not have the House or Senate. The objective is less than to impeach Obama than it is to continue piling up the wreck he and his administration has made of government. There are still a lot of people whi think he has been a fine President in spite of the scandals and the complete hash he has made of foreign policy.

Even if the there is no chance of getting POTUS impeached, the scandal is worth pursuing. This is for several reasons:
1) This scandal goes to the heart of our democracy. The power of the government was misused to interfere with people from exercising their constitutional rights. If nothing else, a complete investigation is necessary to reveal the facts of the case, if only to educate the public
2) To the extent possible, those responsible must be punished. Their actions directly attacked the constitution. If nothing else, embarrassing and/or prosecuting even the low level functionaries may prevent or make more difficult similar actions in the future.
3) This administration has conclusively demonstrated its utter contempt for the law and the constitution. For the sake of American culture, law and society it must be opposed by any and all lawful means. If nothing more, the mere bringing to light the facts of this case makes it more difficult for the administration to accomplish its political goals.

    ColonialGal in reply to CV60. | July 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Here Here, It must be fully documented. There are countless enemies within this is not about removing one tyrant.
    A reminder for some who seem to be tossing in the towel:
    less than 1/3 of Colonials battled to create America.
    Freedom is not a popularity contest……..

>>”The only problem is that, even if Republicans were to “up their game”—and it’s not immediately apparent they will be willing and/or able to do that—what is the available remedy?”

The remedy is radical and incommensurable with the existing reality of the republican party — that is, that the GOP become true subversives dedicated to what could only be called today a fundamantally anti-social attack on the Narrative and the Narrative-forming juggernaut.

But the remedy will not happen.

The Narrative will continue its depredations and the republican party will continue to skirmish cluelessly, half-heartedly and self-deceptively on the margins of the central conflict between the Left and the Right — to the increasing cost of all of us. One can hope another Breitbart emerges, especially within the party, someone who knows how to fight out of the box and more importantly, how to fight proactively rather than defensively.

In one of his last actions before he died, Breitbart launched himself with a total unself-conscious fury into the Occupy ranks in Los Angeles. A lot of people thought he’d snapped. In fact, his action scared the Left and momentarily silenced the Occupy movement. They were freaked out. They’d never seen someone employ their own tactics. The point was, he saw that to fight these people we really had to leave our comfort zone of decorum and tradition, and our politics-as-usual expectations of working things out.

It’s basically what Orwell said — can we fight ugly?

The frog has been boiled. The American people are no longer capable of preserving the constitutional order that once made us a free people. This is big. It is far bigger than Peggy Noonan thinks

If the President is shown to be behind IRS political corruption then his presidency is effectively over even if he continues in office. He will be a lame duck without moral authority.

    punditius in reply to Hockey Bum. | July 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Wishful thinking.

    It will make no difference if Obama is ultimately shown to have known what was going on. The media doesn’t care, so it won’t be reported in any significant way. Blacks won’t care, because he’s “black”. Liberals won’t care because they think that there’s nothing wrong in using the bureaucracy to suppress views that they don’t agree with.

    Moral authority is irrelevant to Democrats, and as far as I can see, to the majority of Americans.

ColonialGal | July 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I think you have done a disservice by not admitting that obama IS directly involved. That horse has left the barn damn near a year ago when Romney’s tax returns were exposed and used by obama and other dems. Do we need to go back and recall good ole plumber Joe? And how his tax returns and private information was exposed during obama’s first run?
How can we discuss things if we have to go back and go over what we already know? Am sorry but I just don’t get where you are going in this post at all.

No surprise here that only 51% of the population are concerned about the ongoing IRS scandal. Why, only 51% of the population pays taxes to begin with!

Carol Herman | July 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

People still go to Disney World and Epcot Center. Mostly, White. And, some from outside of America. Don’t think Africa gets overly represented though.

Florida is still a “sand state,” one of 7, under the load of too much deficit and debt. Plus, this story has probably ended plans any company may have had to relocate to Florida. When there are states (in Middle America), who aren’t drowning in debt. And, deficient. And, who never knew of a real estate bubble.)

Too bad the black caucus isn’t waving around signs showing what’s happened to Detroit. Because? Then their threat to Governor Rick Scott would be” “And, this can happen to you.”

Won’t affect Disney much, either.

Be interesting to see, if ahead, Rick Scott’s just a one-termer.

And, if the failures of judge farley-nelson gets dissected, to show how unfair it was NOT to allow in evidence that Trayvon was a thug.

As to sybrina and tracy? What makes you think they won’t be able to hold up their “goody two shoes” part of the bargain?

    Matt in FL in reply to Carol Herman. | July 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I know I’m pissing in the wind doing this, because I’ve never once seen you respond to someone who questions the random crazy crap you put in your stream of consciousness posts, but…

    “Florida is still a “sand state,” one of 7, under the load of too much deficit and debt.”

    Source? Do you have one? If so, prove it. If not, shut the hell up, because that’s the third time I’ve seen you say this.

    Florida has a balanced budget amendment, and although we could use more money (who couldn’t) and have had projected budget shortfalls, the State spending is always adjusted down to account for those shortfalls. We have not gone into debt to pay our bills. We are not running a deficit. We are not taking out loans. We spend the money we take in, and then we stop. It ain’t perfect, and things get left undone, and taxes should probably be a little higher, but we’re not in debt.

William, you need the rest of the story. The man who is the person who has been named is an Obama appointee. He is the lawyer who helped Jeremiah Wright and his faux church when it was being investigated for a possible 501.3 (c) violation at the time that Barry Soetoro was a Senator.

The connection is not as thin as it seems especially because of the link between Barry Soetoro and Jeremiah Wright.

The fact that the Tea movement was picked upon smacks of revenge. Once this tidbit of information came out, then it is not all that difficult to put two and two together and discover, not just 4 but the whole plan.

Is it an impeachable offense at this point? I do not know. That is up to the Congress.

Subotai Bahadur | July 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

The reason that there is no outrage at further disclosures is that we all now know, beyond any reasonable doubt:

1) The Executive Branch is running the country outside the law and Constitution.
2) Neither the supposed Opposition Party, nor the Congress will lift a finger to stop them because they are either complicit, or intimidated, or both.
3) The Judicial Branch matches the Legislative.
4) There is no electoral political means of redressing the situation.
5) If there were sufficient testosterone in the Republican Party, it would be well worth it to stir up the scandal, to establish a political basis for whatever follows. However, I have a fixed female cat with a higher testosterone count than than the entire Congressional Republican caucus and RNC combined. I would favor impeachment of officials, working from the bottom up. But I don’t think we have any constitutional options anymore.

“Only the Great Blue Sky Tengri Nor knows what the outcome will be.”

Subotai Bahadur

“There is also a large segment of the population who are either unconcerned with the entire issue, or have applauded the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups rather than opposing it. The latter group appear to be ignorant of the general danger that could come from politicizing an agency such as the IRS.”

Maybe it doesn’t bother them because they know the bureaucracy leans left, and because they know (even if they won’t openly admit) that conservatives are generally “follow the rules” types rather than “by any means necessary” types like themselves.

That’s also the reason why they’re so strongly in favor of voting procedures that facilitate fraud: they don’t expect conservatives to take advantage of the opportunities as much as they do. And they are correct about that.

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