According to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, movement conservatives live in a bubble, but in this case none of the cards therein say “Moops.” Rather, each carries the name of what righties (though usually not Waldman himself) consider one or another of the Obama administration’s scandals.
In a Wednesday post, Waldman wrote that what he called “the IRS scandalette” is “an almost perfect expression of contemporary congressional Republicanism” since it features qualities such as “the obsession with conservative victimhood” as well as the GOPers’ “utter disinterest in governing” and their “obliviousness to facts.”
From Waldman’s post (emphasis added):
…Listening to this NPR story yesterday about [Darrell] Issa's continued inability to get where Republicans want to go with the IRS scandalette, it occurred to me that it really is an almost perfect expression of contemporary congressional Republicanism.
There's the obsession with conservative victimhood, (For the record, not one of the nonprofit groups scrutinized by the IRS for possible political activity was constrained from doing anything by having its 501(c)(4) application delayed; a group whose application is pending can operate as freely one whose nonprofit status is already approved.) There's the utter disinterest in governing or the actual operation of government, in favor of a fruitless quest for partisan advantage. There's the obliviousness to facts. There's the fervent belief that even if they can't find any malfeasance it must surely be there somewhere waiting to be uncovered, because it's Barack Obama we're talking about here, and we just know in our guts that he must have done something horrible…
…[T]he final way in which the IRS scandal is a microcosm of this entire era of Republican buffoonery: the hapless bumbling, culminating in humiliating failure. They really thought this scandal had potential. After all, it involved the most hated agency in Washington, and it seemed like they were sure to find the smoking gun. But then they didn't, and the scandal goes on only in the fevered imaginations that flourish within the conservative bubble. They'll still be talking about it years from now.
Having failed to catch the Obama administration in an impeachable act, Republicans could at least have used the story to put forward some reforms that could make the IRS work better. They could have proposed clarifying the law on charitable groups, or providing extra training for IRS workers…But they didn't propose those things. What are they advocating instead? Cutting the IRS' enforcement budget, so it's easier for people (especially rich people who can employ tax avoidance schemes) to get away with not paying their taxes.
When the scandal didn't turn out to be what they thought it was, they could have turned it into something productive for the country, and with relatively little effort. (Democrats would surely have gone along with any productive reforms.) But they didn't bother…