Five years ago, much of the American public bought into the “new” era of American politics and thrust Barack Obama into office.
For many citizens the concept of “Hope and Change” resonated strongly, in contrast to the jaded view that many hold of our public officials. We were in the midst of a burgeoning financial crisis and in the middle of two wars. Many believed the election of our first African-American president could very well usher in a new era of American politics marked by the two major parties working together. While Obama clearly had his worshipers on the left enraptured by his message, there was also a large swath of moderate Americans who bought into the vision that Obama so eloquently projected.
A half a decade later, it’s hard to find any true believers of Obama’s original rhetoric. One of the core concepts of the Obama story that put him in the White House was idea that as an outsider he would cut through the various special interest groups and abuses of power and represent the will of the people in reshaping Washington. Many argued at the time and will argue now that this is a battle that may be impossible to win due to how the system has been set up.
Of course Obama will always have his endless supporters on the left and in the MSM that will reliably work to dismiss any scandal as nothing more than partisan Republican politics. What the lefty elites are missing, and why the current IRS scandal is resonating with the American public, is the bigger issue at hand: We Americans are forgiving people, but we are also people who understand how the system works. It’s easy to forgive the mistakes of a few people who may have abused their power. What really riles up the electorate is an institutionalized abuse of power. The IRS scandal is the epitome of a large scale abuse of power. The White House spin machine immediately attempted to paint this scandal as the work of a few “rogue” agents out of a solitary Midwest office, making the scandal within the scandal the White House’s pathetic attempt to marginalize this issue.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan captured the essence of the damage to the Democratic Party and the White House when she wrote that the
“dreadful thing about this scandal, what makes it ominous, is that this is the elites versus regular citizens. It’s the mighty versus normal people. It’s the all-powerful directors of the administrative state training their eyes and moving on uppity and relatively undefended Americans.”
This IRS scandal is exactly why conservatives and libertarians fear big government. It’s people with a tremendous amount of power abusing their power to achieve political goals. It’s also a real government body that can do real harm and damage the lives of American citizens. The fact that this damage was done in the interest of liberal politics is revolting. So now we have high level IRS officials taking the fifth in front of congress. We have reports of the wife of the acting IRS Director leading and participating in Occupy Wall Street. We have endless accounts of a real and systematic targeting of conservatives that went beyond the simple targeting of tea party groups. For Americans who value freedom it’s the worst nightmare.
Of course Barack Obama would rather play the part of the Ostrich, putting his head in the sand and denying any knowledge of the situation. That could very well be true. Still, he is the chief executive and is in charge of the IRS. These events happened under his watch and this scandal demands a real investigation. The White House spin control can only go so far and the scandals are beginning to pile up. With the Department of Justice going after press freedom the gloves are off. The White House now has to answer to an increasingly skeptical public and White House press corps. The President who bragged on the campaign trail about his ability to understand policy and “do your job better than you can” needs to step up and do his job. The excuse that he can’t control such as massive group is not enough.