The Eighteen Minute Gap

 The IRS Scandal has its roots in DC. It’s not local to Cincinnati, it’s not non-partisan, and President Obama is not isolated from it:

Ms. Hofacre of the Cincinnati office testified that when she was given tea-party applications, she had to kick them upstairs. When she was given non-tea-party applications, they were sent on for normal treatment. Was she told to send liberal or progressive groups for special scrutiny? No, she did not scrutinize the applications of liberal or progressive groups. “I would send those to general inventory.” Who got extra scrutiny? “They were all tea-party and patriot cases.” She became “very frustrated” by the “micromanagement” from Washington. “It was like working in lost luggage.” She applied to be transferred.

For his part, [IRS lifer and tax exemption expert Carter] Hull backed up what he’d told House investigators. He described what was, essentially, a big, lengthy runaround in the Washington office in which no one was clear as to their reasons but everything was delayed. The multitiered scrutiny of the targeted groups was, he said, “unusual.”

This goes all the way to Obama-appointed officials; it’s absurd to think that the President’s inner circle wasn’t intimately involved in the persecution of dissent.

The Administration is running the Clinton-era play, the one they always run when they’re up against it; Delay, Deny, Destroy. 

Maryland Rep. Cummings is doing the Deny part, and doing it absurdly badly:

It was Maryland’s Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel’s ranking Democrat, who, absurdly, asked Ms. Hofacre if the White House called the Cincinnati office to tell them what to do and whether she has knowledge of the president of the United States digging through the tax returns of citizens. Ms. Hofacre looked surprised. No, she replied.

It wasn’t hard to imagine her thought bubble: Do congressmen think presidents call people like me and say, “Don’t forget to harass my enemies”? Are congressmen that stupid?

Mr. Cummings is not, and his seeming desperation is telling. Recent congressional information leads to Washington—and now to very high up at the IRS. Meaning this is the point at which a scandal goes nowhere or, maybe, everywhere.

By Cummings’ logic, Nixon was innocent because he didn’t jimmy the door at the Democrat office at Watergate.

18 thoughts on “The Eighteen Minute Gap

  1. Obama wasn’t even present to help write “Obamacare”. Does Rep. Cummings really think that’s how Obama operates? Even for Democrat, this is dumber than usual.

  2. Well, there was that Democat who said that if Obamacare doesn’t get implemented successfully, it is due to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the greedy Koch brothers.

    Its like we’re debating with kids.

  3. You kind of walk right into these things, don’t you?

    “She uses the word “bombshell” several times, which is odd, because as Simon Maloy points out, Noonan had written about the “chief counsel” revelation two months ago:

    ‘The Washington Post reported efforts to target the conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency by May 2012—far earlier than the agency had acknowledged. Reuters reported high-level IRS officials, including its chief counsel, knew in August 2011 about the targeting.’

    Hey, more power to Issa et al if they follow this trail and get emails from White House staffers directing the appointed counsel to let the IRS keep denying applications from Tea Party groups. But he doesn’t have any of that.”

  4. Hey, Tim, long time no see! Getting tired of yapping into the void on Twitter?

    If the case stays exactly as it is today, forevermore, then sure – I’ll have “walked into” something, maybe.

    But if it keeps developing in the direction it seems to be, then you’ll the the one who looks like the guy holding the wheel on the Titanic on April 20, 1912.

    As usual.

    Part of me is tempted to go back through my comments and find your greatest hits – the many, many comments that both fact and time showed to be just plain dumb.

    But that’d involve spending time. Just not worth it.

    Oh, and as re Weigel’s point – that Noonan’s main point was written two months ago: So?

  5. Mitch, you may enjoy this. Was listening to a black station (more or less, blues and gospel) station from Jackson Mississippi this morning. Caught the end of the talk, but the hosts were talking about the need for blacks to start carrying guns like George Zimmerman does. It was meant somewhat lightly. Judging from what they said, they didn’t seem to know much about personal firearms. It was kind of a “we’ll show the white people (and hispanics)” thing. But my 2 thoughts:

    A) If you know anything about Jackson Mississippi, you’ll know that there is no shortage of blacks carrying guns in that city.

    B) But this Scandanavian-American Republican thinks “yes”. Law abidding middle class (well, all classes) blacks should be able to exercise their 2nd amendment rights. Perhaps the NRA can become a sponsor of WMPR to reach out to the African-American community.

  6. Tim, my question is why nobody on the left seems to care about this. One would figure that just as a quorum of Republicans forced Nixon’s resignation by saying they would not stand by him, we would have some Democrats who would follow the data and say ‘time for a special prosecutor, Barry.”

    And regarding Cummings’ question, and questions like it, it would be really, really, refreshing if someone would call him on his stupidity. Put mildly, it boggles the mind that a guy born and raised in Bal’mer, and having served in legislatures since the 1980s, would be clueless about how bureaucracies work.

  7. I don’t think he’s clueless. I think he was frantically thrashing, flailing, throwing shiny baubles and strawmen all over the room. ANYTHING to deflect and distract. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing and doing it on purpose to throw any investigation in a different and irrelevant direction.

    I don’t remember very much from debate class in 11th grade, but I do remember “the squirrel tactic”. When you are painted into a corner and your opponent has your back against the wall, you throw out any nonsensical yet slightly related argument to try and throw them off their game. Make them say “uhhh…wait…what??” to try and get another shot.

    I refuse to give Democratic politicians the benefit of the doubt by excusing crap like this to stupidity. Ryan Winkler, Rep Cummings. They both knew damn well what they were saying.

  8. This case is also why Obama gave his State of the Trayvon spiel this afternoon. Instead of anyone following up on the story, we’ll hear all weekend about Obama’s eloquence and decency.

    He might be a trainwreck of a president, but he’s a brilliant politician and he understands his real audience, which for the most part lives within the Beltway.

  9. Bill, Mark, you’re more or less arguing that a quorum of politicians–I’d argue especially on the left–are effectively psychopaths, caring more about their own good than that of the country.

    Can’t say as I disagree with you.

  10. With apologies to Fred T.: “Son, the IRS don’t take a dump without a plan.”

    We’re acting as if IRS employees were some odd species of duck found only in Antarctica, whose work habits are a complete mystery. Nonsense, these are federal bureaucrats, they have a Policy and Procedure for everything.

    Worse, these are accounting bureaucrats. Ever met an accountant? Talk about your hide-bound, rule-following, nit-picking drone . . . now add to that the risk aversion of a Federal Bureaucrat and there is NO WAY some group of IRS screeners in Cincinnati decided to enforce the law against the President’s political opponents but not his friends. It’s not in their nature. It’s not in their personalities.

    The whole “rogue agent” facade depends on low information voters setting aside what they already know about the world, to substitute a fantasy world. Sure, it works with the willing (I’m looking at you, Dog Gone), but Joe Sixpack has to be wondering where the orders came from.

  11. Once the media tires of trying to martyr Trayvon Martin, this will be front page news again. And it won’t go away, were already advising on damage control

  12. Hey, more power to Issa et al if they follow this trail and get emails from White House staffers directing the appointed counsel to let the IRS keep denying applications from Tea Party groups. But he doesn’t have any of that.”

    Slate!? It’s all over boys, Slate is almost as authoritative as the New York Times!

  13. I used to use the nick ‘Terry’. I have now changed it to ‘Powhatan Mingo’. Can there be a more American name than ‘Powhatan Mingo’? I think not.

  14. Powhatan Mingo sounds like the new scratch-off game from the Minnesota State Lottery.

  15. I love it when some drooling lefty drops an wad of inchoherent twaddle from one of it’s favorite fetid watering holes, throws up it’s hands and proclaims it’s work done here. Nicely played DimTim

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