To begin with, the Internal Revenue Service scandal isn't just about the abuse of power; it's a byproduct of an irrational fear of free speech, which seems to permeate much of the left these days. The unprecedented targeting of conservatives wasn't incidental to this administration as much as it was an intuitive extension of the paranoia the left has about unfettered political expression.
Democrats, after all, hadn't been merely accusing political opponents of being radical twits the past four years; they'd been accusing them of being corrupt, illegitimate radical twits. The president endlessly argued that these unregulated groups were wrecking the process at the behest of well-heeled enablers rather than engaging in genuine debate.
Heck, some of these funders may even be foreign nationals! Senators called for investigations. Obama called out the Supreme Court during a State of the Union speech for defending the First Amendment in the Citizens United case (which prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by groups). The New York Times editorial board (and others) advocated the cracking down by the IRS on conservative dissenters and getting to the bottom of the anarchy.
How can Americans function in a society in which anyone can speak out or fund a cause without registering with the government first?
Why wouldn't the IRS -- a part of the executive branch, lest we forget -- aim its guns at conservative grass-roots groups during an election in which the president claimed that a corporate Star Chamber was "threatening democracy"? Come to think of it, I'm still not sure why the president believes that it was wrong of the IRS to single out limited-government groups for their tax-exempt status at all. He couldn't stop talking about the topic for two years.
Even if we concede, for the sake of discussion, that Republicans are, generally speaking, unrepentant conspiracy-mongering obstructionists who've been duped by Ayn Rand devotees and their big oil money, shouldn't those groups have the right to pretend to be nonpolitical entities practicing "social welfare" just like everyone else? Most observers now say yes, but it sure hasn't sounded that way for much of the past four years.
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