New frontiers in scandal management
The charge that Richard Nixon attempted to misuse the IRS for political purposes made its way into the second of the three articles of impeachment against him. Nixon “endeavoured” to misuse the IRS, in the fancy British spelling of the word used in article 2. As I have repeatedly tried to point out (here, here, here and, most recently, here), Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired that the IRS “screw” the administration’s political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.
Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.
WORSE THAN WATERGATE
Finally, most of the illegal and immoral actions at the heart of Watergate were carried out the Nixon campaign: i. e. private citizens with no legal power nor any special protections.
With the IRS scandals we have something far, far worse. Here are government employees breaking the law and wielding their enormous power on behalf of one political party. Further, we have the incontrovertible fact that the party which benefited from this abuse of power has obstructed any and all attempts to ascertain the scope of the abuse and to punish those who did wrong, covered for the wrong-doers, or were negligent in preventing the wrong-doing.
Perhaps worst of all, we have a media which is unconcerned with this scandal.