Republicans were poutraged today that President Obama had the nerve to call them on their scandal mongering during his Super Bowl “interview” with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. They urge Americans to not follow their example of jumping to conclusions.
Remember when Republicans were accusing Obama of a cover up like Watergate? They called him Nixon, which while it may have been a nice break from calling him Hitler and demanding his birth certificate, was woefully inaccurate and sadly revealed Republicans’ deep desire to find something they could pin on this President — something that rivaled one of the major Republican Presidential scandals. This has caused them to hyperventilate on a daily basis over a constantly replenished buffet of accusations that Obama is Bush and Nixon. No one bothers to ask them what this suggests about their party — that in order to smear Obama, they accuse him of acting like a Republican President.
So Representative Mike Kelley (R-PA) urged caution at a Committee hearing today, saying, “The truth of the matter is, we don’t know yet what the answer is in the investigation of the IRS.” The translation for this is “We’ve been busted, the evidence actually suggests that we deliberately misled people, so let’s do a big pivot.”
All summer long, the editors at Politicus told you the IRS “scandal” was not real. There was no evidence of targeting conservatives, in fact, both “sides” were “targeted”, also known as the IRS attempting to do its job.
Then came the endless hearings during which Darrell Issa only allowed the soundbites that furthered the GOP narrative to air. All of this was assisted along by a press happily willing to play possum and pass along Republican aides’ interpretations of alleged documents and events as fact.
Then Democrats called Republicans on deliberately burying evidence that proved their conspiracy theory wrong from the beginning. Democrats presented irrefutable evidence of this fact that Issa’s investigation had redacted. Yet Republicans had no problem making accusations back then, knowing that they were misleading people.
Cut to February 2014, nine moths later, and there is no IRS scandal. The evidence that came forward only revealed one scandal, and that was Darrell Issa suppressing evidence that did not correspond with the Republican story. And maybe it was scandalous that the press laid down and played dead once again in their desperation for some kind of scandal the public could latch onto, because it was summer and news was slow. Republicans excel in crafting a cynical circus show during slow news periods when it will get the most play and the least questions.
So now what do we hear from Republicans, who have moved on with nary a moment of reflection or shame, into pretending there is an Obamacare scandal? Now we hear that we should not jump to conclusions on their other accusations (if you’re keeping track, their Benghazi accusations were also a bust, and once again, the facts actually point the finger at them for failing to fund security).
Yes, the very people who jumped to conclusions and urged you to jump of the reality cliff with them or rather for them, now urge caution. Now that the facts are out, and the facts make Republicans look like shameless con artists busted selling snake oil at a tent revival, now they urge you not to jump to conclusions.
The Ways and Means Committee Democrats noted some facts: “The IRS has 150 employees working full-time to accommodate the investigations. Since May, the agency has turned over more than 500,000 pages of documents to Congress. Five dozen interviews have been conducted with current and former IRS employees. And yet, as the President noted Sunday, not a single piece of evidence has emerged showing any political motivation.”
The Ways and Means Committee Democrats were kind enough to offer a rather striking contrast in the stance of Republicans before they were busted and after:
Chairman Darrell Issa, May 14: “This was the targeting of the president’s political enemies effectively and lies about it [sic] during the election year, so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards.” (CBS).
Chairman Dave Camp, May 17: Accuses the White House of a “culture of cover-up” and “political intimidation,” and adds, “It seems like the truth is hidden from the American people just long enough to make it through an election.”
Chairman Hal Rogers, June 3: “Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country—an enemies list that rivals that of another president some time ago.” (Fox News)
Chairman Mike Rogers, June 16: “You have IRS that clearly showed some criminal behavior that at least we know was back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” (Face the Nation).
REPUBLICANS NOW: Don’t jump to conclusions
Rep. Mike Kelly, Feb. 5: “The truth of the matter is, we don’t know yet what the answer is in the investigation of the IRS.” (W&M Hearing)
Rep. Tom Reed, Feb. 5: “There’s no way to come to a conclusion at this point in time.” (W&M Hearing)
Having covered this manufactured IRS story from its birth to its destruction, I can tell you that it was completely surreal when I got my hands on the documents Democrats were referring to. The number of relevant facts being omitted from almost all coverage of this bad fiction simply blew my mind.
It was also surreal to see the press pass off a conservative group that had recently been found guilty of illegally aiding Republicans in an election as being persecuted by the IRS for being conservatives, with no mention of their very recent history. I found all of this highly troubling. While Democrats are far from perfect, Republicans have reached a level of malfeasance and deliberate deception that is truly disturbing.
Now that they are busted, Republicans want to play high minded reasonable types, and urge Americans not to jump to conclusions about the fact that they deliberately wasted millions of your tax dollars pursuing something they knew was bull crap from the beginning. They did this as they ignored the real crises facing Americans today.
It’s simply morally unconscionable — but this is exactly what I would expect from a party that is still bending itself over backwards to deny that the mistakes made in the Bush years have anything to do with their platform. Until Republicans hit bottom, we can expect more of this disgraceful behavior. They’re addicts, who refuse to face the reality of their party and their platform. And just like an addict, they’d love to bring us all down with them.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.