Updated | MSNBC’s Finney, Capehart Hype Liberal 'Conspiracy' Theory: Republicans Push IRS Scandal to Dismantle ObamaCare

Updated at bottom of post: Finney responds via Twitter | Former DNC communications director Karen Finney haughtily claims she wants to “disrupt” the conversation on her new MSNBC weekend show, Disrupt. It’s quickly become apparent that all Finney wants to do on the Lean Forward network is distort conservative claims – and distract viewers from the scandals plaguing the Obama administration.

Finney and guest Jonathan Capehart hyped their own liberal “conspiracy” theory on Sunday’s program, claiming the only reason Republicans care about the IRS scandal is because they want to “deny the IRS the additional funds that they need for the implementation” of ObamaCare.

DNCer Finney – who affectionately referred to Howard Dean as her “former boss” later in the show – began brewing up her conspiracy after playing a sound bite from Dick Cheney on Fox News Sunday:

So here’s my theory on this now. It seems like, you've got Darrell Issa basically losing credibility. We've seen stories to that effect. So now you've got Dick Cheney and other conservatives trying to keep this thing alive, right? They need this scandal, if you will, to be alive. And it strikes me that real reason is because this is part of the larger plan when it comes to the Affordable – you know I'm a conspiracy theorist – here it comes!

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, who frequently defends the Obama administration on MSNBC, spurred Finney on, chirping:

This works. This works. Keep going.

The network’s newest host then formulated the rest of her absurd theory, certain that all Republicans wanted to do with the IRS scandal was deny “six million people” health care next year.

Now, we would expect Jonathan Capehart – despite his liberal leanings – to push back at least a little on this sweeping claim. He is, after all, a professional political journalist. But instead, the Post columnist did just the opposite:

This is a very good theory. And I'm not going to use conspiracy. Because look, the Republicans in the house have tried how many? Thirty-seven times, to get rid of ObamaCare. And now with the IRS having a big role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, this is a good way for them to, or at least to try to –

So according to the liberal tag team at Disrupt, Republicans want to investigate the IRS scandal only to take down ObamaCare. Surely, it doesn’t have to do with the agency’s unfair targeting of conservative groups during a presidential election year. Nor does it have to do with the potential connection between the Cincinnati office where this discrimination originated and IRS headquarters in Washington.

But according to Capehart, average, “middle of the country” Americans just don’t get the difference between “Washington” and “the White House”:

Well, we know to ask the question: well what does Washington mean? Is that IRS headquarters or is that the White House? Now you and I would not think the White House. But folks sitting at home in the middle of the country and in communities here, even in the metro area who aren't paying attention to politics the way we do – when they hear Washington, they think president. They think White House.

It was enough that Finney and Capehart wildly speculated about conservative motives throughout the segment, but insulting the intelligence of most Americans?

It sounds like these insiders need to get outside the Beltway to discover just how intelligent and discerning most Americans are, especially when it comes to the IRS.

UPDATE [06/20/13, 10:02 a.m. Eastern]: Ms. Finney tweeted at me last night, suggesting I should do my "homework" on this story, as the IRS-ObamaCare connection was originally reported by the AP. I tweeted back that the important distinction made on Disrupt was that this connection was the major reason the Republican Party is pursuing the IRS scandal, a claim I believe to be untrue.

Finney responded that there's a desire in the GOP to keep "the fake "scandal" going." I respectfully tweeted back my disagreement. Unfortunately, Finney felt the need to disrupt our conversation by blocking me on Twitter. You can see my part of the conversation on my Twitter profile, @andrew_lautz. You can see Finney's part of the conversation on her Twitter profile, @finneyk.

See the relevant transcript below:


MSNBC
Disrupt
June 16, 2013
4:16 p.m. Eastern

KAREN FINNEY: Now, Issa thus far refused to release more transcripts and, unfortunately for him, yet another so-called scandal seems to be falling apart – as his credibility is. Jonathan Capehart is an editorial writer for the Washington Post. Thank you so much for your time today, my friend.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: I’m eager to disrupt.

FINNEY: Let's disrupt, baby. OK, so Elijah Cummings basically says, and I think when we get to see the full transcripts, we’re going to get a sense. So he says, game over. This is done. Let’s close the chapter on this.

CAPEHART: Well, yes. It is very good that Congressman Cummings did this. From the very beginning, when this scandal – so-called scandal, non-scandal – broke out, people looked around and thought, okay, well, isn't that what the IRS is supposed to do? Not target, but if someone wants – is asking for tax-exempt status – well shouldn't the IRS actually ask questions?

FINNEY [laughing]: Right.

CAPEHART: The issue here was, what became the scandal was, how involved was the Obama administration. And Republicans, particularly Congressman Issa – Chairman Issa – was eager to have this IRS non-scandal fit into the overall Republican, far right, conservative narrative that the Obama administration is this overbearing, overarching form of government.

FINNEY: Well, and one of the points that Cummings actually made was that actually this gentleman in Cincinnati was trying to do his job better. He was trying to figure out a better way to select and he actually asked for guidance from, as Cummings says, a technical person in Washington, which has nothing to do with the White House, actually.

CAPEHART: Nothing at all. In the clip you showed, Darrell Issa saying, he got the orders from Washington. Well, we know to ask the question: well what does Washington mean? Is that IRS headquarters or is that the White House? Now you and I would not think the White House. But folks sitting at home in the middle of the country and in communities here, even in the metro area who aren't paying attention to politics the way we do – when they hear Washington, they think president. They think White House.

FINNEY: So of course, our friend Dick Cheney even decided to get in the game. He kept up the charges this morning. I think we’ve got some sound to listen to. [Start video.]

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: I have trouble believing two guys in Cincinnati dreamed this scheme up. I just don't think that's true.

(...)

I personally believe I cannot conceive of a situation which it didn't come from higher up. [End video.]

FINNEY: So here’s my theory on this now. It seems like, you've got Darrell Issa basically losing credibility. We've seen stories to that effect. So now you've got Dick Cheney and other conservatives trying to keep this thing alive, right? They need this scandal, if you will, to be alive. And it strikes me that real reason is because this is part of the larger plan when it comes to the Affordable – you know I'm a conspiracy theorist – here it comes!

CAPEHART: This works. This works. Keep going.

FINNEY: OK, here we go. Essentially what this is about is if they can continue this scandal, then they can deny the IRS the additional funds that they need for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act which would cover how many? Six million people next year. Seems to me that's why they are trying to keep this scandal alive.

CAPEHART: This is a very good theory. And I'm not going to use conspiracy. Because look, the Republicans in the house have tried how many? Thirty-seven times, to get rid of ObamaCare. And now with the IRS having a big role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, this is a good way for them to, or at least to try to –

FINNEY: Well they've been trying a number of ways, right?

CAPEHART: And this would be another way for them to do it. I have to say, if you are looking to Vice President Cheney to sort of jump-start your non-scandal. I mean, I can't think of another person or institution that is, you know, more lowly viewed than Vice President Cheney. Oh, wait – Congress.

FINNEY: Oh, yeah, them. We're going to leave it there. Jonathan Capehart, thank you so much.

CAPEHART: Thank you.