President Obama appointed (he only gets two) IRS chief counsel William Wilkins who also defended Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright. The case against the Obama administration has taken a turn. This was more than some rogue underlings. Democrats are visibly shaken. As Peggy Noonan points out it’s time for Republicans to up their game.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, finally woke the proceedings up with what he called “the evolution of the defense” since the scandal began. First, Ms. Lerner planted a question at a conference. Then she said the Cincinnati office did it—a narrative that was advanced by the president’s spokesman, Jay Carney. Then came the suggestion the IRS was too badly managed to pull off a sophisticated conspiracy. Then the charge that liberal groups were targeted too—”we did it against both ends of the political spectrum.” When the inspector general of the IRS said no, it was conservative groups that were targeted, he came under attack. Now the defense is that the White House wasn’t involved, so case closed.
This is one Republican who is right about evolution.
Those trying to get to the bottom of the scandal have to dig in, pay attention. The administration’s defenders, and their friends in the press, have made some progress in confusing the issue through misdirection and misstatement.
This is the moment things go forward or stall. Republicans need to find out how high the scandal went and why, exactly, it went there. To do that they’ll have to up their game.