James Taranto on “The New Nixon,” only this time around, “the press cheered as the IRS investigated the president’s opponents,” he adds:
Last year, the Post notes, “Tea Party groups complained . . . that they were receiving dozens of questionnaires from the IRS with regard to their applications for nonprofit tax status, probing their political leanings and activities.”
That prompted an editorial from the New York Times cheering on the IRS: “Taxpayers should be encouraged by complaints from Tea Party chapters applying for nonprofit tax status at being asked by the Internal Revenue Service to prove they are ‘social welfare’ organizations and not the political activists they so obviously are.” The Times did say the rules “should be applied across the board,” and the list of groups it wanted investigated included Priorities USA, a pro-Obama group, as well as a couple of conservative groups and Americans Elect, the failed third-party effort.
But the IRS now acknowledges that Tea Party people were right: The agency was investigating them because of their political profile. Viewpoint-based selective enforcement of IRS regulations would be a First Amendment violation even if the regulations themselves are constitutional. It is difficult to credit Lois Lerner’s claim that this was merely an error and not politically motivated. Imagine if the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund got hit with this sort of treatment and the IRS denied a racial motive while acknowledging it had deliberately chosen groups whose names contained synonyms for “black.”
Read the whole thing.
Regarding the Watergate flashbacks caused by Benghazi, in a guest post at Power Line, David Gelernter writes:
It is the Democratic Party that’s on trial today; and to a lesser extent, America’s mainstream media. For Democrats (and especially Democratic senators) it is put-up-or-shut-up time: are they Democrats or Americans first? Obviously their first instinct was to defend the Democratic administration. Republicans would have done the same. But starting with the Hayes story on the Rice propaganda points (and the neo-Soviet process that turned them from truth to lies), and then the Issa hearing Wednesday (and a recent ABC news piece focusing again on the phonied-up talking points), no honest observer can fail to suspect this administration of doing unspeakable things. It is Congress’s duty to find out the truth.
How would Republicans act if a GOP administration were under this sort of cloud? We know exactly how. It was the radically partisan Edward Kennedy who proposed that a senate select committee investigate Watergate—but in February 1973, the Senate voted unanimously to create that committee. Republican Senator Howard Baker was vice chairman, and asked the key question: ”What did the president know and when did he know it?” Which Democratic senator will ask that question today, now that the issue isn’t breaking-and-entering but lying about four murders, including the murder of an American ambassador? Which cabinet member will be Eliot Richardson and resign rather than continuing to be part of a coverup? Will John Kerry rise to the challenge?
To ask the question is to answer it.
But speaking of All the President’s Men…
Update: Also at Power Line, John Hinderaker adds, “Come to think of it, this may be one more reason why Obama is so single-mindedly devoted to winning back the House in 2014: the way his administration’s scandals are multiplying, an all-Democrat Congress provides insurance against having to leave office via helicopter.”
And via the comments section: