June 1, 2013

PEGGY NOONAN: Restoring public faith will require a full investigation of the IRS’s politicization.

The Benghazi scandal was and is shocking, and the Justice Department assault on the free press, in which dogged reporters are tailed like enemy spies, is shocking. Benghazi is still under investigation and someday someone will write a great book about it. As for the press, Attorney General Eric Holder is on the run, and rightly so. They called it the First Amendment for a reason. But nothing can damage us more as a nation than what is happening at the Internal Revenue Service. Elite opinion in the press and in Washington doesn’t fully understand this. Part of the reason is that it’s not their ox being gored, it’s those messy people out in America with their little patriotic groups.

Those who aren’t deeply distressed about the IRS suffer from a reluctance or inability to make distinctions, and a lack of civic imagination.

Dumb flyover slopeheads. Even if the audits were wrong, it’s probably best to keep them in their place.


It is considered a bit of a faux pas to point this out, but what we are talking about in part is a Democratic president, a largely Democratic professional administrative class in Washington, and an IRS whose workers belong to a union whose political action committee gave roughly 95% of its political contributions last year to Democrats. Tim Carney had a remarkable piece in the Washington Examiner this week in which he looked for campaign contributions from the IRS Cincinnati office. “In the 2012 election, every donation traceable to this office went to President Obama or liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown.” An IRS employee said in an email to Mr. Carney, “Do you think people willing to sacrifice lucrative private sector careers to work in tax administration . . . are genuinely going to support the party directed by Grover Norquist?” Mr. Carney noted that one of his IRS correspondents had an interesting detail on his social media profile. He belongs to a Facebook FB -0.00% group called “Target the Shutdown at the Tea Party States.” It advised the president, during the 2011 debt-ceiling fight: “For instance, shut down air traffic control at airports in Norfolk, Tampa, Nashville.”

Wow. I guess that was target practice.

Honestly, we might be better off abolishing the civil service and going back to the spoils system. At least then there’s no pretense of fairness, and you know who to blame.

UPDATE: Reader Mark Miller writes of Peggy Noonan’s conversion:

I know you often mention Noonan’s ridiculous attacks on McCain/Palin back in 2008 when she criticizes Barry these days. But in can’t be repeated often enough. People like you knew and told people (repeatedly) what was coming if Obama won. You didn’t know the exact detail of the abuses of power that would come but you knew they were coming. People like Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and Christopher Buckley, on the other hand, assured us that John McCain was too unpredictable for the Presidency and Sarah Palin not worthy of the Vice-Presidency. Barry, on the other hand, had the look of a president and certainly could be trusted with the levers of power. He went to an Ivy League school, after all.

Noonan looked down her nose at us in the flyover country and tut-tutted to her Beltway friends about how us slope-foreheads didn’t know how to judge politicians like those in the political class knew how to judge them.

Look what you gave us, Peggy-O.

It would be nice for Noonan to apologize to Palin and to also apologize to the country for being so gravely wrong on a matter so important to the future of our country. Until she does that, her criticism of the President is laughable. She helped ensure he would win.

Well, it’s worth pointing out, but better a slow learner than someone who doesn’t learn at all.

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