I really wish that op-eds whose titles are questions would at least make a stab at answering the questions in those titles. Take the example of Thomas Edsall’s recent New York times column, “Why the IRS Scandal Won’t Go Away”. After reading it I came away disappointed. Unless you’re convinced that the only reasons the scandal won’t go away are Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, it doesn’t even try to address the question.
I think the reasons the scandal won’t go away are that
- It’s a legitimate scandal.
- The House has a legitimate oversight responsibility.
- IRS officials have lied, misled, and stonewalled House committees.
- The lying, misleading, and stonewalling keep the ball up in the air.
- The draft rules proposed by the IRS to remedy the abuses have been deemed even worse than the rules under which they have been operating by just about everybody. At least they’re bringing people together. The ACLU, Heritage Foundation, and Sierra Club all hate the new rules.
Does the scandal reach as far as the White House? Frankly, I doubt it but who knows? As the late Dan Rostenkowski used to say “Never take a bribe. Just hand ‘em your business card.” Clear directions and a smoking gun aren’t necessary to make something an abuse of power and, consequently, a scandal. Departments of the federal government should not be, as one editorial put it, “weaponized” as attack vehicles deployed against the administration’s political opponents.
Now maybe Mr. Edsall never intended to answer that question in his column. Maybe the title was supplied by an editor. If that’s the case, it’s pretty lousy editing.