So I guess scandal season is upon us, as once again Republicans try to disrupt a Democratic President's electoral victory through a combination of legal action and press manipulation. Benghazi has been a big success with the Republican base and a nonstarter with anyone else because there's just no there there; like a lot of lefties, I cannot even tell what the scandal is supposed to be on that one. The Department of Justice getting Associated Press journalists' phone records, on the other hand, is a legitimate scandal that I'm upset about. I expect to post about again, but it hasn't quite caught fire yet, in part because it's a continuation of the ongoing development imperial executive in the name of national security which has been an uninterrupted process whichever party has held power.
Then there's this IRS thing. That one's legitimate but not actually all that big a deal; hence “mini-scandal”. I have a couple of helpful commentaries.
The first is from the Rude Pundit, who lays out what obviously happened.
Look, we know how this went down: Post-Citizens United, the Internal Revenue Service was flooded with applications for tax-exempt status for whatever organization a couple of fucksacks with a tricorner hat wanted to start. “Social welfare” groups, they were called, and they could not be involved with specific political candidates or advocacy (although, you know, c'mon). So the IRS told its low-level drones who had to look at all the fucksack applications to flag ones that looked hinky. So the low-level drones, who are overworked to begin with because Congress won't give the IRS the funding it needs to do its fucking job, used some search terms.
It's 2010 and who are the fucksacks who are everywhere? The “Tea Party” groups. So, sure, fine, let's fuckin’ search that. Low-level drone 1 tells low-level drone 2 (and for god's sake, they live in the dull, dull, boring, dull city of Cincinnati, so give ’em a little break), “Hey, just use ‘Patriot’ as a search term and you'll get your job done faster because if there's one thing we know, it's that a whole bunch of these applications are from crazed fucksacks applying for tax-exempt status because they hate them that black guy in office.” Low-level drone 2 might have said, “Oh, shit, that'll get us in trouble.” But low-level drone 1 had a convincing argument by saying, “You wanna get to the bar sooner?” By the way, chances are that LLD 1 and LLD 2 have been LLDs forever, under at least one GOP president.
Does this narrative need to be completed?
Digby offers a quote from Josh Micah Marshall which explains why this trivial thing is such a big thing.
If you wanted create a scandal to have maximal appeal to GOP base freakout, this is it. And it has the additional advantage of not creating the same sort of off-putting crazy as hitting other bugaboos beloved by base Republicans. It’s not about Obama’s ties to the Muslim brotherhood or his foreign birth. It’s about taxes, something everyone has an experience with and understands. And it’s at least rooted in something that’s true. Something really did happen. And it’s not good. It shouldn’t happen. It even has unexpected knock-on effects like the IRS’s supposed connection to the dreaded ‘Obamacare’.