“Being on President Nixon’s enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received,” the actor Paul Newman once remarked. America’s 37th president had a fascination, some might say an unhealthy obsession, with the perceived enemies of his administration. He drew up lists of who was being naughty. He tasked henchmen to break into the offices and spy on Democrats. For this Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace, becoming the only man in the history of the United States to relinquish and resign the great powers of the Oval Office.
Fast forward four decades, and our 44th president, Barack Obama, and his administration are taking a page from the Nixon playbook by targeting their political enemies in the Tea Party. Richard Milhous Nixon must be blushing.
The Internal Revenue Service admitted Friday that it had knowingly targeted dozens of non-profit groups with “tea party” and “patriots” in their name. The Tea Party News Network’s sister organization, TheTeaParty.net was one of the largest and most prominent groups. TheTeaParty.net received a number of harassing requests and inquiries from the IRS to relinquish its donor lists, every email ever sent, every Tweet ever put out, every Facebook post and every You Tube video published since its creation.
The assumption all along had been that behind the IRS harassment was a political motivation. The goal was to silence and intimidate those who stand in the way of big government and the burdensome taxes that thousands of bureaucrats at the IRS gleefully exact from the 47 percent of Americans who pay into the system.
It has been no secret within the movement that Tea Party organizations as well as Tea Party candidates have been targeted since the first day of the Obama administration. In March 2012, the New York Times editorialized in favor of using the IRS as a political weapon. “The I.R.S. must not flinch from its duty to enforce the tax code and root out political operatives who are abusing the law and conning taxpayers and voters.”
We have seen both the mainstream media and this administration strongly come against any group who did not align themselves with the President’s agenda and when possible, inflict punishment in the form of savage political attacks, television ads, surrogate smears – and now, we know, IRS audits and inquiries.
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