Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Bob Morrison.
Former Education Sec. Bill Bennett said the most important thing about a school was its ethos. He meant the prevailing character of the school as an institution. That word also applies to the Obama administration, or any administration.
We should not, therefore, be surprised by the IRS scandal. It was completely predictable. It is one of the inevitable consequences of contempt for law. President Obama gave lawlessness a spur in this State of the Union Address in 2010. This was the ethos of his administration-
Mr. Obama had promised in his 2008 campaign to “fundamentally transform the United States” and he kept that promise in 2010 when he used this most august, most formal occasion of our republic to deliver a blistering denunciation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the controversial case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The black-robed Justices were seated before him as he tongue-lashed them. They had been invited as honored guests. But Mr. Obama wanted them there as props. He wanted to show the world that he was master in our house.
Chief Justice John Roberts saw the danger to our institutions from this unprecedented act of disrespect:
The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court, according the requirements of protocol, has to sit there, expressionless, I think, is very troubling.
And it does cause you to think whether or not it makes sense for us to be there. This -- to the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there.
“Very troubling,” indeed. And it was there that President Obama opened the gates to the IRS abuse of power. He showed his contempt for all previous practice, for two hundred thirty years of constitutional government in that assault on the Supreme Court. During the campaign, he had egged on his supporters, telling them to “get in their faces.” The night of his 2010 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama got in their faces.
We can hear our liberal friends object: “You conservatives howl about Supreme Court rulings you don’t like. Your crocodile tears now are hypocritical.”