Bromance Politics


As the Scandal Circus, a.k.a The Greatest Show on Earth, heats up, Obama’s bromance partners are out in force trying (fruitlessly, it might be noted) to shore up his left flank. Here’s Jeffrey Toolbin, explaining away the IRS scandal:

In light of this, it might be useful to ask: Did the I.R.S. actually do anything wrong?

The stories began to come to light on Friday, when the Associated Press reported that a draft report by a Treasury Department inspector general had found that the I.R.S. subjected certain Tea Party-affiliated groups to undue scrutiny. Lois Lerner, head of the I.R.S. tax-exempt-organizations division, said the agency was “apologetic” for what she termed “absolutely inappropriate” actions by lower-level workers.

It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations. There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates.

If that definition sounds murky—that is, if it’s unclear what 501(c)(4) organizations are allowed to do—that’s because it is murky.


But let’s be clear on the real scandal here. The columnist Michael Kinsley has often observed that the scandal isn’t what’s illegal—it’s what’s legal. It’s what society chooses not to punish that tells us most about the prevailing ethical standards of the time. Campaign finance operates by shaky, or even nonexistent, rules, and powerful players game the system with impunity. A handful of I.R.S. employees saw this and tried, in a small way, to impose some small sense of order. For that, they’ll likely be ushered into bureaucratic oblivion.

How cute is that? Don’t blame the IRS low-level employees; blame the system. The perpetrators-as-heroes narrative is as old as politics. Nevertheless, the Democrats’ ability to provide “nuance” for their own side is alive and well. Bless their hearts.

But wait! There’s more! Bromance master of the interwebs Josh Marshall has been provided insight into the developing AP wiretapping scandal. See, it’s not really a matter of Nixonian politics, as some would suggest. It’s just his favorite little snuggy-wuggy, the same one that led him to excuse so much of President Bush’s misbehavin’: Surprise! It’s National Security! According to one of his readers:

The AP story on the Justice Department “secretly” obtaining phone records from AP strikes me as an unprofessional effort by the AP to make the Department look bad.

If you read the story your learn that Justice is in fact investigating a leak to the AP. The merits of such am investigation may be debated but for the AP to write this article in this fashion would be like a politician under investigation issuing a press release about the evil investigation against him. Everyone would understand it for what it is.

More important it is clear to anyone who understands what happens in this type of investigation that the Justice Department subpoenaed phone records. Those records came from the phone company not from AP. They relate to dates and times of phone calls not content. Under the law such a subpoena is perfectly proper and under the law Justice and the phone company must notify the party (in this case AP) that records were subpoenaed.

I think AP protests just a bit too much and seeks to smear Justice (knowing full well that many Republicans will jump on this quickly).

And here’s JM’s analysis:

I think there’s still a very live question of whether this was a prudent action on the part of the DOJ, as maximal restraint should always be used when subpoenaing journalistic records. But I do think he’s at least on to something that such an article would definitely have included more and different context if AP weren’t the party at issue and the ‘secretly’ phrasing does perhaps knowingly mislead.

Well, thank goodness they never resort to victim-blaming in the Democratic party, amIrite? All of this is having the desired effect in the trenches, of course. The little guys who fight the real war at places like DailyKos now have some ammo to work with. And they can still put their adoration of Obama above their own professed values. See exhibit A, from bromancer ericlewis0. Here’s a screen shot of the “Tip Jar”:

DK Bromance

This is an open thread.

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34 Responses to Bromance Politics

  1. myiq2xu says:

    The original White House Plumbers bugged the DNC HQ at the Watergate Hotel because they were trying to plug some leaks. That’s why they called them the Plumbers.

    • swanspirit says:

      Someone should remind Jeffrey Toobin that O.J. is in jail anyway , and still can’t get a new trial ; even though he helped get him an acquittal , someone else saw to it to put him behind bars . Toobin is too cute by half .

    • 1539days says:

      Nixon won 49 states, He didn’t even need Watergate.
      Obama needed the Benghazi cover-up to win.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    A handful of I.R.S. employees saw this and tried, in a small way, to impose some small sense of order.

    If that were the case, why didn’t they ask all applicants seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) the same intrusive questions?

    • Lulu says:

      Because the list of entities was from an ever growing list from Washington. The list of “concerned” employees were political appointees.

    • Mary says:

      And why would they mail copies of teaparty applications—with all private info included—to left-wing think tanks like ProPublica to use in their anti-tea party articles?

    • And why would they violate this point — “they don’t have to disclose their donors” ? They made them disclose their donor lists in their further inquiries to get them the status.

  3. votermom says:

    They’re left with writing fan fic to explain this away.

  4. myiq2xu says:
  5. Lulu says:

    I saw that smarmy little toad Toobin float that turd yesterday afternoon on CNN. The panel was a bunch of slackjaws who just sat there. He was saying that the conservatives were going crazy organizing and submitting too much paperwork for the IRS to investigate and they were just trying to come up with a way to deal with it. Of course no Proggies were treated this way and it was initiated in DC but that never crossed his talking point brain. This was cooked up yesterday morning and spewed out in the afternoon to see if it would fly.

  6. Speaking of weird sexual tension. It’s not like this creepy underhanded stuff is new to obama. Remember 2004 and Jack Ryan and his sealed divorce/custody papers? Their release reversed his lead in the Illinois US senate race which none other than BO went on to win (from which point he IMMEDIATELY began to run for president). obama and his minions caused the release of those embarrassing records:

    “On March 29, 2004, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled that several of the Ryans’ custody records should be opened to the public, and ruled that a court-appointed referee would later decide which custody files should remain sealed to protect the interests of the Ryans’ 9-year-old child.[8] The following week, on April 2, 2004, Barack Obama formally established his position about the Ryans’ soon-to-be-released divorce records, and called on Democrats not to inject them into the campaign.[9] The Ryan campaign characterized Obama’s stance as hypocritical, because people they alleged to be Obama’s backers had been emailing reports about the divorce records prior to Judge Schnider’s decision, and urging the press to seek to open them.”

    • Mary says:

      “Obama’s backers” primarily meant David Axelrod. He’s the one who took care of unsealing all those records.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I worked in family law in California for several years. It is absolutely unheard of for those records to be made public over the objections of both the husband and the wife.

      • Mary says:

        A little “walking around money” for the ex-spouse of the candidate?

      • Especially since any judge in her/his right mind would agree with the parents that the contents of the records would indeed cause harm (and future harm) to the child. It wasn’t dry (or even juicy) financial or criminal hanky-panky. It was “alleged” private, sexual, and perfectly legal (if odd/perverted depending on your views) adult behavior that there is absolutely NO REASON for the public to know, or for the notoriety the child would have to live with as he grew up.

  7. HELENK says:

    I like this lady. IRS asked what her group read. She sent them a copy of the Constitution

  8. HELENK says:

    this is from a commenter at No Quarter. It is eye opening

    You’re not alone. I just got back from a 10 day trip to Rome and Athens and everywhere I went I got into conversations with natives and tourists and they were without exception shocked beyond belief at my explanation that the POS is hated and despised in the US.

    Then I figured out why they had such positive impressions of the POS and his Sasquatch wife.

    The only two english speaking stations, BBC and CNN International, ran non-stop reverent coverage of the POS and not one word about opposition to hm and his policies.

    That trip was a real eye-opener and gave me even more perspective into how Big Media is selling this country down the river. Not only are we being lied to in the US., the POS cartel is misrepresenting us overseas. Big time.

  9. HELENK says:

    I am not sure which one I am more disgusted with, backtrack or reid? backtrack is what he is a sicko that has been petted and coddled all his life and made to believe he is more than he really is. Reid is just a like a slithering snake who does more harm than good in congress. Listening to him making excuses for Benghazi and abortionists like gosnell today turned my stomach

  10. Constance says:

    Why are all these other scandels coming out now, they happened awhile ago and certainly before Benghazi. It’s like someone is dumping a carton full of squirrels to distract from Benghazi meaning there is something really big to be discovered regarding Benghazi and I would bet Petraeus knows all about it. I sure hope he doesn’t have a car accident.

  11. HELENK says:

    ok is he incompetent and lazy or just a rotten SOB?

  12. swanspirit says:

    Did Obama Use IRS Audits to Shut Down Grassroots Activists and Sway the Election?

    Stefano said she tried to start her own group called The Loyal Opposition between 2010-2011. But when she applied for tax exempt status, the IRS responded with a litany of questions that put her off.

    “I was pregnant and on a single income and they were asking me questions like, ‘Are you on Facebook,” she said incredulously. “They wanted my personal Facebook page.”

    “A lawyer told me, ‘They’re going to come after you and if you make one mistake they could ruin your life’,” Stefano added. “I like to think of myself as very tough, but I’m ashamed to say I was intimidated and frightened, and I shut it down.”

  13. 1539days says:

    I read some of the crap at Pro-Obamica. There was a little section in their article trashing Karl Rove (not that he doesn’t deserve it) about how there is no obligation to register a group as a non-profit. Many liberal groups don’t. So, Tea Party groups put themselves on IRS RADAR to avoid scrutiny just to be extra scrutinized by the government.

    Of course, if a conservative group didn’t apply for that status, they would probably be audited when they filed a return. Liberal groups would probably get a refund.

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