In the Arena

IRS Mess

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Md., on May 9, 2013.

The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups is outrageous. Those who did this should be fired immediately. That’s obvious.

It continues a slovenly week for Barack Obama. The President has been very proud of the absence of scandal in his Administration, and rightly so. The inability of his opponents to find any significant corruption in the historic $800 billion stimulus package was a real achievement, given the speed of the payout. None of his top aides have been caught up in taking bribes while in office — although their race through the revolving door into lucrative private-sector positions is well beyond nauseating.

As in most presidencies, there have been an awful lot of political hacks populating the midreaches of this Administration. In the Obama instance, these have shown an anachronistic, pre-Clinton liberal bias when it comes to the rules and regulations governing many of our safety-net programs, like Social Security disability. And now they have violated one of the more sacred rules of our democracy: you do not use the tax code to punish your opponents.

Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the ‘absolutely inappropriate’ actions by ‘frontline people’ were not driven by partisan motives.

Does anyone actually believe this?

Yet again, we have an example of Democrats simply not managing the government properly and with discipline. This is just poisonous at a time of skepticism about the efficacy of government. And the President should know this: the absence of scandal is not the presence of competence. His unwillingness to concentrate — and I mean concentrate obsessively — on making sure that government is managed efficiently will be part of his legacy.

Previous Presidents, including great ones like Roosevelt, have used the IRS against their enemies. But I don’t think Obama ever wanted to be on the same page as Richard Nixon. In this specific case, he now is.

(Read more from Joe Klein on the IRS scandal.)

2955 comments
MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

Rick, I'm afraid I've lost track of our argument.  I must insist, though, that Democrats are not evil, nor are Republicans. Even in our present divided Congress, they are attempting to work together for the good of the nation.

BruceAllan
BruceAllan

Ironic that the IRS guy issues this hollow, veiled apology, but doesn't know anything apart from that. Holder doesn't know anything either - and eventually devises the story that it is just low-level hacks that did all this. Any time you get these people under oath, they have convenient memory failure. Then Carney says that Government is so big, how could Obama know what's going on. So then, I suppose this is an admission that limited government is the only way to properly govern?

jaazee1
jaazee1

"The absence of scandal doesn't mean the presence of competence" was nicely phrased. On the other hand, the absence of pain doesn't suggest there is no growing cancer.

And that's what we have in the Obama Administration. America has no liberal in the WH, but a man who is using the idealism and passion of progressives as a platform to use for HIS gain, Mich as he used the Rev Wright and his church to give him street cred.

Should,God forbid, Obama consolidate power, he will discard liberals as he has Rev Wright, his grandmother,65 democrat Members in 2010, and Hillary.

Look closely at Obama's formative years in Indonesia, in Hawaii, mentored by Frank Marshalled Davis, his affiliations not with liberals but extreme leftists,socialists and anarchists.

That's the picture I see of Barack Obama. What do you see?

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

Dear Japes: I think we can agree that the IRS is a mess, and that firing the head is the right thing to do.

BruceMajors4DC
BruceMajors4DC

Breaking: Obama says he is a Kenyan prince, claims diplomatic immunity.

BruceMajors4DC
BruceMajors4DC

Breaking: Obama says he is a Kenyan prince, claims diplomatic immunity.

BruceMajors4DC
BruceMajors4DC

Breaking: Obama says he is a Kenyan prince, claims diplomatic immunity.

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

" The president had been very proud of the abscence of the scandals of his administration" ???

You mean he had the media/lapdogs hired as stenographers who only reported what they were instructed to?

Otherwise FAst and Furious woudl have been a Scandal of a Huge proportions for which at least Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder should have gone to prison...two americans and hundreds of innocent Mexicans killed and still getting killed as the guns  provided to them by USA are still in operation! But no, this isn't a scandal by Liberal standards...

Billions of dollars squandered on Sylandra and Bright energy Sources as well as many others with campaign kick back money?_nothing to see here, no scandal...Illegally obtained information on Romney and used in campaign-nothing new, actually common practice for Obama's Chicago methods!

No, No scandals....

Thank you, Joe.....You actually forgot what it means to be a reporter!

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

Dear BoJo: It's nice to hear from you, not calling me names but just stating your opinion. I like that. In response, all I can say is that they learned from the Bush Administration, which did the same sort of thing to the NAACP, also not a charitable outfit. Maybe it was the same individuals? Probably not, because it was a different city. All the best, Mary

IrwinChusid
IrwinChusid

Other than Fast & Furious, the force-through of Obamacare, the hiring of a tax cheat as Treasury Secretary, a woefully underachieving and wasteful stimulus, the dismissal of voter-intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party, the refusal to acknowledge Islamist terrorism, the Solyndra bankruptcy and billions in Greenfail, the Benghazi fiasco, and record-breaking deficits, there has been a 100% "absence of scandal" in the  Obama administration. So much for the "adversary press," Joe.

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

Is anyone imagining that the Tea Part is a charity org? Clearly, it is political and not entitled to tax exemption as a charity. 

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

@MaryFloyd  

Sorry,

Democrooks and repubicrooks  who don't have our counry's interst in mind ARE EVIL! For instance The current AMNESTY bill pushed by traitorous Rubio is a disaster....20-30 million people who will predictably vote one party without even speaking a word of English, draining our welfare system, adding to our crimes and not to mention HOW MANY OF THEM are muslims who will do same things that happened in London?

But going back to the IRS disgrace-I do not doubt for a moment WHO is behind all those audits, spying, etc...after all it is a proven and used times and time before Chicago style thuggery ...nothing new here...it propelled the current occupant of WH to where he is today... 

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

@BruceAllan  

This is the only administration that is ALLOWED to have it both ways!!! They can speak from both sides of their lying mouth and get away with it!

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

@jaazee1  

I have a feeling the democrats have no love lost for him either as it had been evidenced by the Baucus statement however they ill not openly go against their own... I give Max Baucus some credit for doing what he did...maybe that is why he is being pushed out.Obama doesn't give a F... about anyone else but himself and his radical progressive agenda and inflicting as much damage to our country as possible....after all we still know Zilch about him!

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd 

Yet, if this was a non-leftist President and this happened, to this extent, that President would be out by now. I think the irony of the knowledge of that is part of what really upsets non-leftist/liberal Americans. I mean, look at how the Left (most of culture) reacted to Bush' monitoring phone calls between exclusively known, potential terrorists and only if it was to another country! You guys acted as if the sky was falling, and yet this Pres. has done SO much worse, in SO many more ways, and nary a peep. Now that it's been found that he's been monitoring the left leaning press, hopefully they will turn more against this President with the bad value system. 

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@rhyncostilis 

Great, honest and clear points here! I just wanted to say that; and that is true about Joe. What a shame. 

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd 

You can compare stealing a candy bar to robbing Fort Knox, and rightly say that they're both stealing. Yet you'd also be dishonest if you didn't point out that one hurts far, far more people than the other, and so is arguably worse by degrees. 

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

@MaryFloyd  

LIES, LIES, LIES!

Shame on you, MARYFLOYD, doebt you are capable of tham emotion though,,,,,,similar to Jesse Jackson and Al Aka TAwana Brawley Sharpton!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@IrwinChusid Care to compare that to  a list of all the scandals of the past administration? There have been some huge disappointments in Obama's first term, particularly his unwillingness to persecute the Wall Street criminals who tanked our economy, but he has been a school boy compared to what came before him.


JoelWeymouth
JoelWeymouth

@MaryFloyd - Non - profit. - there is a difference. The ACLU is not a charity, it is a non-profit.

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd 

I notice you didn't answer bojosatchmo's reasonable response to you. Is that because you are intellectually dishonest? Are you liar, Mary? Are you a racist, Mary? 

bojosatchmo
bojosatchmo

@MaryFloyd Political organizations can be 501c4 organizations like MoveOn.org for example.  Not one of the Tea Party applications were ultimately denied, just illegally targeted, harassed, asked inappropriate and illegal questions and delayed.  So now you are informed are you not outraged?  Would you have been if it were Bush doing it to liberal groups.  Be consistent Mary.  

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd Nobody ever said nor implied that it was. You're just saying that because you are a leftist, and think you can manipulate and confuse people from the truth. Isn't that right, Mary? 

bojosatchmo
bojosatchmo

@mantisdragon91 I thought I explained this to you in another post, pointing out the sins of others does not excuse ones own.  Just accept that Obama is hopelessly corrupt and has been from the beginning. You've been duped. Accept it.

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

@JapesMacfarland @MaryFloyd Are you guys ganging up on me? Leftist is more polite than lefty, I guess. Thank you, all three of you, for responding. I won't tell your Mama that you were rude to a lady.

JudiPurcell
JudiPurcell

@mantisdragon91 @IrwinChusid   Choke-choke, school boy?   I was furious over the things Bush did but he was only one-tenth as bad as Obama.  However, you being a Democrat are totally blind to saintly Barry, and I as a Republican at the time was only one-tenth as bad as you.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@bojosatchmo @mantisdragon91 Yep he is hopeless corrupt which is why he came out and said this was unacceptable. Remind me again did we ever get a statement like that from GWB over the targeting of the NAACP and Liberal Churches?

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd @JapesMacfarland 

Mary, it was your initial dishonesty and attempt to manipulate the truth, which was rude; and certainly not the way a lady would behave. 

Besides, I thought the Left can't stand gender differences, and the idea of a 'Lady' is anathema to your average prof. and student. (You know, at your average leftist seminary. i.e. the most leftist, restrictive of free speech areas in the country.) 

rhyncostilis
rhyncostilis

@mantisdragon91 @JudiPurcell @IrwinChusid 

As soon as democrooks are faced with facts they alwaysa bring up BUSH- very dependable ...yes, Bush and Race!

It will only be resolved if INDEPENDENT Prosecutor is appointed to investigate , oput those clowns under oath and question them instead of bumbling idiots in congress and obviously Eric Holder is the last [person to investigate anything....

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@JudiPurcell@mantisdragon91@IrwinChusidThe perhaps you'll feel better when you realize this IRS thing has already been resolved:

This might shock you, but the politicos weighing in on the IRS scandal aftermath occasionally leap to conclusions. Over the weekend, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued attacks on Democratic incumbents because they (or more realistically, their spokesmen) had not issued responses to the scandal. (For example: "We all know that Tim Bishop could care less about crushing debt and wasteful government spending, but his failure to speak up on these issues on behalf of [his] constituents is flat out wrong.") A big assumption on the right is that Democrats spurred the IRS's bad behavior by banging the table about the Kochs and Karl Rove and all those rich people hiding money in tax-exempt "social welfare" groups.

Why assume? Because the IG report actually absolves the rest of the administration and the Obama campaign from the accusation of direct pressure. The key lines:

We asked the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division; the Director, EO; and Determinations Unit personnel if the criteria were influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. All of these officials stated that the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. Instead, the Determinations Unit developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management. Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party in the BOLO [Be on the Look-Out] listing criteria before it was implemented. As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months.

This is why, since the report came out, you've heard more questions about when/why/how key Democrats learned of the story, and why they didn't react until the AP broke the news last Friday. Recall that the IRS officials dinged here are often career officials and Bush appointees -- not great scalps. The IG's saying that they're the only scalps that deserved to be separated from their skulls.

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

@JapesMacfarland @MaryFloyd @mantisdragon91 @wonderYrednow @bojosatchmo Why, Japes, thank you so much for your concern. You're not "too" tough, just sure of your beliefs, as I am of mine. We on the left tend to think of ourselves as generous people who want to help the poor and downtrodden, you know. Then we tend to jump to the conclusion that the right does not care about them. But the laws in this country have been put together by both sides, sometimes with difficulty, but usually with mutual respect.

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd @JapesMacfarland @mantisdragon91 @wonderYrednow @bojosatchmo 

P.S.
One thing I'd like to try and clarify. I believe that most people on the Left are normal, decent folks, but vote the way they do because of a caricature of evil of people like my mom, which just isn't true. 

For example, why was it, that the more right wing you were, during the recent Presidential primaries, the more likely you were to be supporting Herman Cain, a black man? (From the Left's point of view, this would be like a Nazi voting for a Jew. No, it wouldn't happen.) 

It's because most all conservatives care about values, and the racism charge from the Left is complete rubbish, and *used* as a weapon. 

Or another example: I would bet my car that if you asked a typical tea party group, anywhere in America, if they would rather have 9 black female conservatives, or 9 white male liberals on the Supreme Court, that it would be unanimous for the woman. 

MaryFloyd
MaryFloyd

@JapesMacfarland @MaryFloyd @mantisdragon91 @wonderYrednow @bojosatchmo Hi, Japes! I'm so sorry that your mother was labeled as a racist. We do jump to conclusions sometimes, just as you do, and it is wrong. We on the left tend to think of good and evil also, and of rich and poor as well, so we have a little different angle on things. We have elected our first black president, and we're very proud of that... but there is a section of Americans, probably good people in most regards, who absolutely hate the fact that a black man is in the White House. You and I, were we to meet, would get along wonderfully. You would help me down from the bus (I'm old and crippled) and I would offer you a dollar and you would say, "Thank you, ma'am, but no." Then we'd go have a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@MaryFloyd @JapesMacfarland @mantisdragon91 @wonderYrednow @bojosatchmo 

Oh, I agree, but it's more than that. For two years or so, leftists like mantisdragon were calling beautiful, decent people like my mom in the tea party, without a racist bone in her body, one of the ugliest things imaginable; a racist. Day after day millions of Americans were slandered by the press and the leftist comedians and the leftist schools, etc. etc. 

Besides, I've come to the conclusion that other than using demonization as a main weapon for the Left (at least since the Bolsheviks) they are projecting their own inner ugliness. i.e., it is leftists (today's liberals) who are the real racists, and selfish, greedy, power mongering folks. 

For example, leftists see the world in terms of race, gender and class, while we tend to see it in terms of right and wrong, good and evil. We tend to believe that a person should be judged *only* by the content of their character and not the color of their skin (or gender, class) and leftists do not. 

Leftism, as an ideology, does not believe in an objective reality to all people, when it comes to right and wrong. It believes in economics Uber Alles, and is materialist. So, being materialists, leftists are much more likely to fall for such nonsense as racism. 

In other words, by his revealing the depth of faith in the ideology/religion of leftism, it is quite likely that a fellow like mantisdragon is actually a racist, and so literally a bad person. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@JapesMacfarland@mantisdragon91and yet there is no proof that Obama did anything. But keep howling.

This might shock you, but the politicos weighing in on the IRS scandal aftermath occasionally leap to conclusions. Over the weekend, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued attacks on Democratic incumbents because they (or more realistically, their spokesmen) had not issued responses to the scandal. (For example: "We all know that Tim Bishop could care less about crushing debt and wasteful government spending, but his failure to speak up on these issues on behalf of [his] constituents is flat out wrong.") A big assumption on the right is that Democrats spurred the IRS's bad behavior by banging the table about the Kochs and Karl Rove and all those rich people hiding money in tax-exempt "social welfare" groups.

Why assume? Because the IG report actually absolves the rest of the administration and the Obama campaign from the accusation of direct pressure. The key lines:

We asked the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division; the Director, EO; and Determinations Unit personnel if the criteria were influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. All of these officials stated that the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. Instead, the Determinations Unit developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management. Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party in the BOLO [Be on the Look-Out] listing criteria before it was implemented. As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months.

This is why, since the report came out, you've heard more questions about when/why/how key Democrats learned of the story, and why they didn't react until the AP broke the news last Friday. Recall that the IRS officials dinged here are often career officials and Bush appointees -- not great scalps. The IG's saying that they're the only scalps that deserved to be separated from their skulls.


JapesMacfarland
JapesMacfarland

@mantisdragon91 @JapesMacfarland 

Lol, you leftists (today's liberals) are like children. Always looking to get out of responsibility by claiming moral equivalence, so as to bring the entire standard down. 

Anyway, I read your article a bit more carefully, and still notice that this is nowhere near as bad as what Obama has done. He basically had to take out the tea party before the election, since your mockery was starting not to work, and the evidence that you guys had been lying about them being bad people was becoming overwhelming. 

So he took out as many of the groups as he could, by incessant harassment that made it not worth it to so many of them to keep going. You won't be able to see the obvious truth of this, though, because you are a leftist. Your faith won't allow it.