The Administration

William Wilkins: The G. Gordon Liddy of the IRS scandal?

If the IRS Tea Party scandal is at all reminiscent of the Watergate debacle that brought down a president in 1974, we may have just discovered the latter-day G. Gordon Liddy, the man who oversaw the chain of events that led to Nixon’s resignation.

Who would that be? Well, a good guess would be William Wilkins, chief counsel to the Internal Revenue Service. More and more evidence is sucking his office into the maelstrom of the IRS/Tea Party scandal.

Let’s take a look at him.

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World gone mad

You can either laugh or you can cry. But in case you have any doubts, this past week provided proof that the world has indeed gone mad.

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Marc Rich's death brings up a name Eric Holder can't want back in the news

Eric Holder Jr., then deputy and later acting attorney general in the second Clinton administration, was so stained by the pardon that his boss, Bill Clinton, issued to billionaire fugitive from American justice Marc Rich on Jan. 20, 2001 — the day Clinton handed over the White House to George W. Bush — that Holder told friends and reporters his public career was over.

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It's all a question of emphasis

There is an old joke about a retailer named Fink, who had a sign in his store window that read: "My name is Fink, and what do you think? I sell clothes for nothing." A customer picked up a suit and started to walk out when Fink stopped him and said he owed him $40 for the clothes. “But your sign said you sold things for nothing," the hapless customer replied. Fink said, "My sign asked, ‘What do you think? I sell clothes for nothing?’ It was all a question of emphasis.”

I think of this old joke as I ponder what happened at the IRS when someone decided to question whether groups seeking charitable status were truly charitable or in fact were political. There would be nothing wrong with IRS officials noting the use of 501(c)(4) status to advance political versus charitable purposes by some organizations and instructing employees to watch for this and assure that is not done. That would be their job.

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What's holding Obama up?

Why does Obama boast an average approval rating of 48 percent when he scores terribly on each issue he is now handling? Here’s the rundown in the latest Bloomberg News poll:

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Scandals combine to form perfect storm

When it rains, it pours.

The combined weight of the three growing Obama administration scandals is weighing down the White House and overwhelming its ability to control the story or advance its agenda.

In hospital triage, this is the equivalent of not having enough bed space.

Each scandal, if it occurred by itself, could potentially be dealt with. But their combination is forming a narrative that the White House is not being honest amid a culture of “scandal.”

The three controversies, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack and the Justice Department's targeting of AP reporters, are unique. They will ebb and flow on their own terms and in their own way, as news develops.

But each poses a serious political threat to the administration.

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Issa and IRS: What Issa knew and when he knew it

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was one of the first officials in Washington to know of the existence and substance of the inspector general's report on the Internal Revenue Service. 

For some time Issa maintained his silence about it, stating that it was important to have a nonpartisan and objective investigation before leveling criticism. Should Issa be subpoenaed and put under oath? 

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The Republicans’ obsession

I’m tired.

Under Bill Clinton we had to endure the Republicans’ obsession with so-called "scandal" Whitewater, the death of Vince Foster, the travel office, and finally Monica Lewinsky and impeachment.

It was all so exhausting and so useless and so far from doing the people’s business.

Nevertheless, Bill Clinton had one of the most successful presidencies in modern times.

Ever since Barack Obama was elected, various elements of the Republican Party have engaged in nothing but petty character assassination, false accusations and partisan political attacks designed to undermine his presidency.

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Obama’s 'New Superior Man'

“The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone ... Something big has shifted.”  — Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2013

The spookiest thing of all perhaps is that with the overnight rise of Obama from nowhere in Chicago to the Oval Office is the uptick again in the world of global "New Superior Man." 

Granted, it is a hot, foamy latte version of the beast that stalked the heart of Russia in the early 1800s and would rise to shake the world in 10 days, then tear its fabric for 100 years. The rise of Superior Man also brought the world one of its greatest literary works: Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, and the anti-hero who would echo today through Nietzsche, Lenin, Trotsky, Bulworth, Bono, Bill, Obama.

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