Ah, seems like old times.
Way back when, it was Congressman Jim McDermott's apologia for Saddam Hussein that earned McDermott the enduring nickname "Baghdad Jim." (Audio after page break)
Once again the Washington state House Democrat is doing his darndest at misdirection, this time to divert attention from the Obama administration's mounting scandals.
McDermott appeared on Ed Schultz's radio show Friday, a frequent platform for his meanderings, and as usual did not disappoint (audio) --
SCHULTZ: Are you dismayed at the activities of the IRS?
MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, they could, they were doing their due diligence. That is, it's their responsibility to figure out who should they give a tax exemption to. And they were going about that process. Now they did it stupidly and they did it in a way that has brought down a lot of problems for the agency, but they did not, as far as I can see, no one, the inspector general hasn't said there was any criminal activity or any political activity. It was just dumb in the way they set it up 'cause it looks bad. It looks like they were targeting. They weren't really targeting because so many of these things were 501(c)4s that came in as a result of the decision by the Supreme Court.
SCHULTZ: But do you think that there were some personal feelings amongst IRS personnel that said, OK, we're going to go get these people?
MCDERMOTT: No, I really don't. I think they were trying to do their job and they were inundated. We've cut their budget again and again and again and they, they had suddenly, they had a quadrupling of the number of applications that came in. Everybody wants their application dealt with today or tomorrow. And here they gotta ask all these questions ...
SCHULTZ (interrupting): What do you mean a quadrupling of applications? You mean, of returns?
MCDERMOTT: No, they had, as soon as Citizens United ...
MCDERMOTT: ... was decided, everybody then went out and said, well, now we're going to form a 501(c)4 and we're going to start having our donors be hidden, because that's what a 501(c)4 allows you to do.
MCDERMOTT: You can hide your donors and then we're going to start raising hell in the political process and they were just inundated with people running in and saying, hey, we're clean, we should be allowed to do this. And they did what you should do ...
SCHULTZ (skepticism kicking in): So they did they apologize, congressman?
MCDERMOTT: Well, because they set up criteria that sounded like they were going after only tea party. They were going after any organization that's primary activity was not social welfare. And if you had, you can do some politics, but it can't be the main purpose of your organization.
Main problem here, according to McDermott, is that what the IRS did "looks bad." And for this two of the agency's top officials get the boot? Comes across as a tad disproportionate unless done in response to a situation genuinely scandalous.