Saturday, May 18, 2013

Barack Obama's Presidency Is Imploding
...Political analyst Michael Barone warned back in October 2008 of what he called “The Coming Liberal Thugocracy,” referring to then Senator Obama’s call for his supporters “to get in their face” when confronting Republicans and Independents. Barone argued at the time that “Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Mr. Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.”

Barone’s predictions have been proved correct. As I’ve noted in previous pieces, this is a nasty, brutish, imperial-style presidency that is highly intolerant of dissent, and which goes out of its way to target political opponents. It is ironic that one of the journalists threatened by the Obama White House in recent months has been Bob Woodward, one of two Washington Post reporters who originally broke the Watergate scandal, and who was immortalised in the 1976 Oscar winner All The President’s Men, where he was played by Robert Redford. Woodward was warned back in February by White House economic adviser Gene Sperling that he would “regret” remarks he made on the sequester issue. Other writers, including Bill Clinton’s former special counsel Lanny Davis, have faced similar threats.

Is it any surprise that conservative groups have been targeted en masse by the federal government following the kind of deeply unpleasant rhetoric used by Vice President Joe Biden, who supported the charge by Democrat Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania that Tea Party Republicans had “acted like terrorists” over the debt issue? Biden has been a master of this kind of divisive, heated language, telling union members at an AFL-CIO rally in Detroit in September 2011 that “you are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gates.” At the same rally, Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa declared: "President Obama, this is your army, and we are ready to march. Everybody here’s got a vote. If we go back, and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.” Needless to say, President Obama remained silent on both the Biden and Hoffa remarks, and in the following year called on his supporters to take “revenge” against Republicans at the ballot box....

Report: IRS Deliberately Chose Not to Fess Up to Scandal Before Election
NBC's Lisa Myers reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election:

The IRS commissioner "has known for at least a year that this was going on," said Myers, "and that this had happened. And did he share any of that information with the White House? But even more importantly, Congress is going to ask him, why did you mislead us for an entire year? Members of Congress were saying conservatives are being targeted. What's going on here? The IRS denied it. Then when -- after these officials are briefed by the IG that this is going on, they don't disclose it. In fact, the commissioner sent a letter to Congress in September on this subject and did not reveal this. Imagine if we -- if you can -- what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different."...

How the IRS Scandal Threatens Obamacare
...For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”

In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the agency has already launched an attempt to subvert the health law’s clear statutory language. As I noted earlier today, the text of the legislation specifies that the law’s tax credits for private insurance are available in exchanges created by states. It does not provide for those subsidies to be available in exchanges run by the federal government. Yet the IRS rule regarding the tax credits essentially ignored this, and allowed for the subsidies to be available in both state and federally run exchanges.

What this means is that the IRS is already taking creative liberties with the administrative duties it is assigned under the health law. It’s already attempting to use its power to expand Obamacare beyond the specifics of its statute. It’s already ignoring the text of the law when doing so suits its purposes.

And it has done so with the explicit support of the same top official who claimed that there was “absolutely no targeting” of conservative groups going on at the IRS....