July 20th, 2013

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 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.

[ADDENDUM: Cross-posted at Legal Insurrection.]

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

  1. RickZ Says:

    To do that they’ll have to up their game.

    Miss Faux Conservative Republican makes a fatal assumption: That Republicans have game in the first place. These Pubbies roll over faster than my old mutt looking for a belly rub. Hell, the Pubbies are rolling over with alacrity looking for that belly rub, just to prove to themselves that they are liked, where like has nothing to do with it, only respect. Unfortunately, Republicans don’t respect themselves or their base. Although they do seem to have an inordinate amount of obsequious respect beyond all reason for the mendacious Choomster-in-Chief.

  2. Otiose Says:

    Impeachment should be off the table. Retribution needs to happen in the House and Senate in 2014.

    ObamaCare, Obama, the IRS scandal etc – the makings for a great stew, but the key is to let it simmer.

    “But the multiple messes the Obama administration is facing this term have had the paradoxical effect of causing a certain amount of outrage fatigue.”

    That’s true up to a point. However, Obama is also managing to trigger one pet peeve or another for growing numbers of people. They may feel fatigued now, but come November 2014 an outlet will be available.

    For me, my tolerance for his bs was low to begin with. It annoyed me greatly that he got elected in 2008, and I for one am really fatigued just thinking about 2012 and the lost opportunity for the economy to begin a healing/recovery process.

    I find little ways in my daily life to ease my own stress and fatigue.

    The fact is that a great many people don’t make the connection between Obama and their day to day lives. Here in CA I run into people every day who don’t or can’t make the connection on their own, and whenever the opportunity comes up in a conversation I try to do my part towards achieving a better world by slipping in a nudge towards an understanding how Obama and the continued malaise in the economy or whatever are tied together. Lately, as those proverbial chickens have been coming home to roost it’s getting easier to find that trigger for his more marginal supporters.

    Granted especially here in CA there are people who believe it’s a great idea for the IRS to go after conservatives. Why not – those evil bastards deserve it. But most people – even ‘liberal’ ones who actually pay taxes don’t feel that way. And as the implications of what the White House probably did – engineering a systematic attack on conservative groups to subvert the election process – sinks in a great many swing voters will vote against anyone seen as allied to Obama.

    I believe that Obama probably is sincere in his comments on Martin, but I suspect that he also is very deliberately stirring things up to keep his base distracted and to distract conservatives. I enjoy talking about the case, I confess, and I’ve gone toe to toe with some of the fervent race baiters at other forums and enjoyed doing it, but I also realized that for the last week I haven’t read much about the still evolving IRS scandal, something much more important and dangerous to me personally.

    The police here are very well prepared to deal with rogue black thugs who might wander off their reservations in SouthCentral and the chances of me or mine coming to harm are small. But the IRS. That’s another story they get into my life in detail and I have no protection except what the larger society consensus provides.

    cc: NSA/IRS/White House/Democrats for a One Party Progressive Society

  3. Mr. Frank Says:

    If a bad economy that has eliminated over 50% of black household wealth and persistent high unemployment are not enough to wake up the low information voter, it’s hard to imagine a bombshell short of the Edwin Edwards’ (in bed with a dead woman or a live boy) quote. Decades of bad schools, low standards and MSM corruption have taken their toll.

  4. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    As I understand it, short of Impeachment, there are a lot of weapons that Congress has at its disposal, if it has the will to use them and the fortitude to keep at it; enough major weapons like (and I’m not even mentioning all the sneaky little things that members of Congress could likely do if they wanted to disrupt and bog down this administration’s plans and programs)—cutting or zeroing out whole budgets (or even parts of budgets—say those portions of budgets to pay for office rent, electricity, heat and AC, telephone and Internet connections, photocopy machines and paper, and basic office supplies and/or eliminating agencies unfilled “position numbers”), holding up appointments, endless investigations, hearings, and requests for documents and testimony, legal actions against the Administration and its officers in the Federal courts, and a whole host of Parliamentary maneuvers—all with one aim, to tie the administration in knots, to block any progress on their agenda and/or, if resisted, to highlight the essential lawlessness of the Obama administration, and the hell with the MSM or what it says.

    There is also the all-out assault that is Impeachment by the House—likely to be agreed to by the Senate or not–which would add a whole new level of hurt to the White House, occupying the time of more and more Obama apparatchiks, and preventing them from carrying out Obama’s plans.

    However, confrontation over “principle” is obviously something the almost no Republican in Congress has any stomach for, being afraid of being called bad names like “obstructionists,” being called too “ideological,” or pointed to as not being willing to “compromise” and/or in the words of that nauseating phrase, “reach across the aisle.”

    Republicans in Congress have been rolled by this Administration on virtually every issue and the prospects—at this point—of these Republicans suddenly developing spines are pretty much negligible. Even if there were chum in the water, they are goldfish, not sharks.

  5. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    This President, one would think, is vulnerable on a whole host of issues, programs, policies, statements, actions, and inactions yet, to date, no Republican had stood up, pointed to, made a strong case against, and shouted about any one of them with sufficient force for a sufficient length of time to get any real traction.

    I know that with the MSM in Obama’s pocket, with the growing numbers of “low information voters, with Obama & Co.’s various giveaways, its it is hard to get that traction, but one would think it could be done.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Short of absolute proof of pedophilia or murder, nothing is going to happen to Obama. Certainly no political censure of any kind will happen.

    Congressional democrat’s primary loyalty is no longer to the Constitution but to the left’s ideological agenda. Congressional republican’s primary loyalty is to their re-election and maintenance of their power base.

  7. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Geoffrey–I hate to say it but, I think you have hit the nail on the head.

  8. southpaw Says:

    I wrote before that I don’t believe the establishment Republicans care about this.. McCain,Boner, Rove, et al. Hate the Tea Party. The house won’t call a special counsel because these guys don’t want one. In this scandal, Boner and his buddies are allies with the dems -secretly cheering to keep the Tea Party disorganized and un-funded.
    Whatever hearings they have won’t amount to anything- it will be another dog and pony show to appear concerned, with no intention of prosecuting or firing anyone. And Obama knows it too.
    I have no intention of voting for my incumbent congressman in 2014. Michael McCall, chairman of Homeland Security is allegedly in charge of looking into Benghazi. Obama is shaking in his shoes. Like everything else McCall doesn’t do, that will come to nothing too.

  9. Charles Says:

    Nothing will happen to Obama, nothing.

    Evidence could be found that Obama killed a puppy and ate its head; but, nothing will happen to Obama.

    Because no one wants to go down in history as the guy who took down the first black president.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    IMO, it’s important to remember, especially in the face of Obama’s immunity from legal consequence, that he can still be partially neutralized.

    Stopping Comprehensive Amnesty for 11-33 million ‘undocumented democrats’ is critical.

    Holding on to the House and making headway in the Senate in 2014 are vital. Keeping alive the Senate investigations into the Obama administration’s unlawful malfeasance may be crucial to the 2014 election.

    In addition, Benghazi has the potential to derail Clinton’s presidential bid in 2016. That is of particular importance because Clinton, more than any other democrat is working to abrogate the 1st amendment through UN treaties.

    “UN Resolution 16/18 was hailed as a victory by Clinton, because it calls on countries to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization” based on religion without criminalizing free speech — except in cases of “incitement to imminent violence.”

    Incitement is to be defined by applying the “test of consequences” to speech. Under this twisted perversion of falsely “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” it doesn’t matter what someone actually says — or even whether it is true or not; if someone else commits violence and says it’s because of something that person said, the speaker will be held criminally liable.

    But if the criterion for determining “incitement to imminent violence” is a new “test of consequences,” then this is nothing but an invitation to stage Muslim “Days of Rage” following the slightest perceived offense by a Western blogger, instructor, or radio show guest, all of whom will be held legally liable for “causing” the destruction, possibly even if what they’ve said is merely a statement of fact. The implications of such prior restraint on free speech would be chilling (which is precisely the point).” Clare M. Lopez, professional intelligence analyst

  11. Pastorius Says:

    I believe this is a fight for the History Books, not for a cheap, contemporary victory.

    It is a fight for the truth to come out. If we don’t win THAT fight, then the sun will set on America.

  12. Consul-At-Arms Says:

    Impeachment isn’t just for presidents and vice presidents:

    “Section. 4.

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    Why can’t this be used against those, such as IRS “civil officers” who need to be removed from office?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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