Progressives hoped that would happen after the IRS targeted the NAACP in 2004 because its leaders criticized President Bush for not addressing their annual convention. Absent then was outrage from the GOP.
But congressional Republicans are reveling in the recent IRS disclosures. It came just as the Benghazi “scandal” they pushed for months collapsed and the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records turned out to be aimed at plugging leaks jeopardizing national security.
It is clear Republicans don’t want to govern. They only want to delegitimize Democrats in general and Obama specifically. If they do that, jobs, immigration reform and sensible gun safety legislation — the Democratic legislative agenda — can be ignored. It’s like basketball’s old four-corner stall.
The IRS flap offers the GOP another opportunity to run out the clock to November 2014. So get ready for a new round of scandal-mongering and Obama-bashing from Republicans.
That didn’t take long.
“I lived through Watergate with the Nixon scandals, and this one is eerily similar to it,” pronounced Bob Barr in the MDJ. “The Nixon scandals, led to the impeachment hearings …”
We haven’t had an independent investigation, but conservatives are already using the “I” word? Be careful there, Bob. The last time you flogged impeachment, Newt Gingrich ultimately was forced to resign as Speaker of the House.
So who or what is the tea party, anyway?
Thanks to a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, we learned the tea party sprouted more than 10 years ago as an off-shoot of the tobacco industry’s efforts to preserve cigarette profits.
Given the murky nature of the tea party’s provenance and finances, IRS interest in its tax exempt claims may well be justified.
“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda,” wrote Dr. Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, senior author of, “To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party.”
The study notes the tea party was conceived in 2002 by Citizens for a Sound Economy, a front group funded by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch and their big tobacco allies. Their goal is to gut regulations and the tax code so life is better for billionaire industrialists and big tobacco.
“Our U.S. Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online, and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated,” proclaimed the 2002 CSE website, since taken down.
CSE preceded the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, both of which orchestrate today’s “grass roots” tea party activities from Washington offices. The idea is to deceive average Americans into believing their financial interests align with those of billionaires and giant corporations.
It’s been a tough sell. Only 8 percent of American voters self-identify as tea party, according to a January Rasmussen poll.
Nevertheless, the Koch brothers must have ruefully smiled at the irony of this bit of braggadocio from the current teaparty.org website:
“The Tea Party Movement, born from obscurity, without funding, without planning, is a spontaneous force shaking the very glass foundation of the oligarchy that rules in our name, but without our blessing.”
I think they mean without the Koch brothers’ blessing.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.