IRS: The evolution of a scandal in the president’s mind
May 2013: Outrage at the information he has just learned, only from reporters, vague and lofty promises to right this wrong and hold people accountable, lest the very fabric of this nation be sullied.
“This is pretty straight forward. If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in that kind of practice and intentionally harmed conservative groups, that is outrageous,” Obama said. “That’s outrageous, and there’s no place for it, and they have to be held fully accountable.”
“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, or a Republican,” Obama said. “At some point there is going to be a Republican administration. Either way, you don’t want the IRS ever being perceived as anything less than neutral. This is something I think people are properly concerned about.”
“If you got the IRS acting as anything other than a nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous, that is contrary to our traditions, and people have got to be held accountable and it has got to be fixed.”
July 2013: Curt dismissal, slight sadness that this scandal formerly known as an outrageous threat to our nation’s integrity which he would not tolerate, is now distracting from serious issues, like all the tax money he wants to spend.
For most of this year, we’ve seen an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals and we keep on shifting our way — shifting our attention away from what we should be focused on, which is how do we strengthen the middle class and grow the economy for everybody?
December 2013: Sarcasm and disbelief that ideological allies would dare find something wrong with the conduct formerly known as concerning whether you’re a “Democrat, Independent, or a Republican.”
OBAMA: That’s not — that’s not something that’s reported about. If, on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati, in the IRS office that — I think, for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether a nonprofit is actually a political organization, deserves a tax exempt agency. And they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged.
MATTHEWS: 501(c)(4) is tricky to begin with, how to define it.
OBAMA: To begin with.
The president even appeared annoyed that liberal commentators once dared to challenge him on the point:
OBAMA: And by the way, Chris, I’ll point out that there are some so-called progressives and, you know, perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week were just as outraged at the possibility that these folks, you know, had — had been, you know, at the direction of — the Democratic Party, in some way — discriminated against these folks.