The IRS scandal rages on. The latest flare up in the investigation is the IRS claiming that thousands of Lois Lerner’s emails have suddenly disappeared, essentially stalling the investigation and leaving no clear pathway toward the truth. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp expressed just how ridiculous this whole thing has become in a stern line of questioning to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today.
“The IRS is in charge of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ information. And you’re now saying your technology system was so poor that years’ worth of emails are forever unrecoverable?’ asked Camp. “How does that put anyone at ease? How far would the excuse ‘I lost it’ get with the IS for an average American trying to file their yearly taxes who may have lost a few receipts?”
But let’s remember, the issue of lost emails, archiving requirements, and back-up servers isn’t the crux of the matter. At its heart this is the story of a government agency acting to punish organizations simply because they didn’t share an ideological stance. What’s more, those actions may have aided President Obama’s reelection hopes. Those are high stakes and certainly deserving of the truth.
Sadly, Democrats haven’t always seen it that way. Brad Dayspring writes,
For months, Obama allies and Democratic political operatives have joked about the scandals and disasters piling up on the White House welcome mat. Benghazi? A joke. Something for employees of the taxpayer to laugh about. The IRS? A joke. Negotiating with the Taliban and releasing some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists? Meh. Veterans being forced to suffer because of the VA disaster? Another political distraction, because in some parallel universe, ObamaCare was working and popular.
The Left’s strategy to dealing with these very real scandals has become so rote that even NPR—not exactly a friend of Republicans—was able to clearly distill the elements.
First, deny – deny that it happened, blame it on low-level officials, and whatever you do—make sure the White House isn’t implicated. Second, get mad. Express frustration at the scandal (which shows you care), but reserve your true anger for Republicans for exploiting it for partisan gains. Third, bargain with voters. Offer up the head of a bureaucrat that was involved, release some documents, or most importantly, compare this transgression with the scandals of previous administrations, in an attempt to make you seem reasonable. Fourth, get depressed that the scandals aren’t going away because they are real and serious problems. And fifth, delude yourself. Some liberals’ navel gazing went so deep that they came to believe that the scandal-mania would push President Obama to argue more vociferously for progressive causes.
The strategy may have been successful at convincing Democrats in Congress that everything is okay, but voters aren’t buying the five-step, rinse and repeat process. Amy Walter writes for the Cook Political report:
[A]mong those who are most politically active, 44 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans believe the other party is a “threat.” These are the voters that show-up in low turn-out elections and who donate money to congressional candidates. Keeping these voters engaged means keeping their hostility to the other side well-fed. And, right now, from Benghazi to Bergdahl, from incompetence at Veterans Affairs to “lost” emails from ex-IRS chief Lois Lerner, the White House has been serving up a virtual buffet.
Democrats can attempt to blame Republicans for the scandals as much as they want, but in the end this a hole they dug for themselves and it’s up to them to dig themselves out. “Losing” thousands of potentially incriminating emails isn’t exactly a great start.