President Obama is humming with energy, canning the acting head of the IRS and demanding Treasury Secretary Jack Lew find out just how this IRS thing could have happened. He’s so on fire, you’d think he just birdied the 18th hole.
Obama strutted into the East Room Wednesday evening and said things like this:
I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives . . .
We’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable . . .
We’re going to put in place new safeguards . . .
But beneath all the smoke being raised by Obama’s fire is probably another motivation other than what I’m sure is towering outrage that his worst political opponents were assaulted by the taxman.
Obama may be trying to show standard operating procedure can handle this so that he can avoid the appointment of a special prosecutor.
A special prosecutor, though nominally working for the attorney general, would have the kind of independence needed to really go down all the pathways that are going to emerge as corruption at the IRS – and perhaps elsewhere in the administration – is uncovered.
Surely Attorney General Holder can’t credibly collaborate with the FBI, as he has vowed to do, to perform the investigation. Nobody who is a Republican trusts Holder. This investigation has to be viewed as unimpeachable to both sides.
Okay, give me a break, I used the word unimpeachable, not impeachable.
Surely not Jack Lew, widely regarded within the GOP as a political animal installed at Treasury to reliably handle for Obama just this kind of problem. The whole IRS thing is really going to interrupt Lew’s coursework in financial markets, by the way.
And Obama himself today signalled the problems that will pop up should Congress take the lead.
We will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role. And our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed. Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesn’t smack of politics or partisan agendas . . . The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.
So you see, if the Republicans get a little too aggressive and, you know, try to make someone testify or demand lots of nice crisp documents from the administration, then they will be “politicizing” the situation.
No, only a special prosecutor can do this. Obama may or may not be sincere, but his words are true: investigating misbehavior by the IRS is too important a matter to be politicized by either side.
The IRS has fearful sway over our lives, power that surely was never intended by the Founders. If it’s using this power to slay the president’s enemies, then we need to know who was involved and who needs to be punished.