Archive for the ‘POTUS’ Category
By John Feehery
According to Wikipedia:
“A whipping boy was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. Whipping boys were established in the English court during the monarchies of the 15th century and 16th centuries. They were created because of the idea of the divine right of kings, which stated that kings were appointed by God, and implied that no one but the king was worthy of punishing the king’s son. Since the king was rarely around to punish his son when necessary, tutors to the young prince found it extremely difficult to enforce rules or learning.”
As you all know, I have been reading the Game of Thrones series of books, and somewhere in volume 6 (or volume 5) there is a pretty graphic scene where the young king Tommen has a whipping boy who gets beat up pretty good.
That reminded me of the concept of the whipping boy, which seems to have been used to great effect by the Obama Administration in this whole IRS scandal.
Steven Miller has been fired for being the Acting Commissioner of the IRS. As he himself pointed out in his exit press release, he was going to be leaving in a couple of weeks anyway, so the President seemingly flogged him with all of the damage administered by a wet noodle.
The President huffed and puffed last night when he claimed outrage at the abuses administered by the tax collecting agency. And by making Mr. Miller his whipping boy, the President at the very least showed that he was capable of doing something, no matter how painless to the former government employee.
The left has been trying to make the case that the real culprit is not the IRS or the White House, but instead the Supreme Court. After all, they were the ones that insisted that the First Amendment meant something and that citizens ought to have the right to petition their government or try to change their government through the electoral process unimpeded.
How dare conservative groups band together, organize like-minded citizens and form up in organizations that don’t pay taxes?
On the other hand, why should the IRS get involved in groups like the Tea Party? It seems to me that we have this all wrong. It is not that these groups should qualify for tax-exempt status. I don’t believe that they should be forced to apply at all.
If this is not a for-profit business, why do they need to file for a tax-payer identification number? Why does the IRS have any control over what these citizen groups do or don’t do?
We are all asking the wrong questions here. This is not about what the President knew and when he knew it. This all about why do we have a tax code that is so big, so unwieldy, so dangerous, so chock-full of exemptions and other provisions as to make the average taxpayer’s head completely spin around in circles?
If we had a vastly simpler tax code, we wouldn’t have the IRS asking probing questions like “what books to you read”, or “where did you get your money”? If we had a vastly simpler tax code, we wouldn’t have people who honestly make mistakes about how much they paid because they don’t understand the calculas needed to pay the right amount. In a vastly simpler tax code, you wouldn’t need so many IRS agents who have so much power to inflict so much damage on the lives of ordinary Americans.
Republicans should use this IRS scandal as an excuse to get tax reform. And the President should use tax reform as a way to move away from the scandal.
The President has a real crisis on his hands. And as his old Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel put it, “never let a crisis go to waste.”
By John Feehery
When I worked for the Hammer, I told him point-blank it was unwise for him to lead the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
I explained to him that even if we could pass an impeachment resolution out of the House, a conviction would fail in the Senate because that required a two-thirds vote, and if he led the impeachment drive, it would automatically become a partisan event, making a conviction impossible
Tom DeLay thanked me for my thoughts and said in no uncertain terms that Clinton’s actions were a moral stain on the Presidency and that he had to be made accountable.
As it turned out, we were both right. By leading the impeachment drive, DeLay’s role turned it into a partisan affair, and while Republicans were able to get some articles passed through the House, the Senate never got close to convicting the President.
But by impeaching Clinton for having an affair in the Oval Office with one of his interns and then lying about it on national television, under oath, Mr. DeLay was able to put a permanent stain (no pun intended) on the popular President’s historic record.
Republicans recovered from impeachment, eventually, although it ended up taking down a Speaker and a man who would replace him. Because the abuse of power was so specific to Clinton’s notorious sex drive, the impeachment controversy didn’t cause the country to suddenly lose faith in government or cause a tectonic split in the country.
Most people thought that while impeachment itself was probably an over-reach and definitely a complete waste of money and time, somebody other than his wife needed to send a message to the President that this time, he had really, really screwed up. And that message was the impeachment/non-conviction two-step.
Impeachment is now coming up in terms of the various scandals that have beset the Obama Administration. That is a different kettle of fish.
When Republicans drove the impeachment of Clinton, they were disgusted with the President’s conduct. When Republicans talk impeachment of Obama, something far more sinister comes to mind.
Impeaching Obama won’t solve this country’s problems. It won’t put us on a pathway of healing this country. It won’t create jobs. It will sharply divide this country. It will convince people that the GOP is a party of racists. And it will end the Republican Party as we know it, making it a minor regional party for at least a generation.
Barack Obama is not a very good President. I think he is in over his head. I have been consistent on that. I don’t think he has the experience or the executive ability to drive consensus and get things done.
But Obama is not a Communist. He is not anti-American. He is not a racist. He is not a Muslim. He is not a trying to undermine this country.
The scandals that have befallen the Obama White House have brought echoes of Watergate for some. The political enemies list. The suppression of press freedom. The lies. The use of the IRS as a political cudgel.
And many of these scandals are bad news. They deserve to be thoroughly investigated. There should be an independent counsel appointed quickly, right after the Independent Counsel law is re-passed into law.
But let’s see where this all goes. If this is a return to Nixon, it will be the Democrats who will take the lead. And if the press gets bad enough, a politically- wounded Obama is better for Republicans than an impeachment drive led by Republicans.
So, to my Republican friends, I have a simple request. Stop the impeachment talk. It is not helpful.