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Friday, June 21, 2013

 

Which is worse, a corrupt administration or a corrupt government?

James Taranto has made the point repeatedly (and it's wroth repeating) that it’s very bad if the Obama Administration pressured the IRS into unfairly targeting various Tea Party groups and Republican donors. We began with the belief that Obama created an atmosphere in which his appointees and people who wanted to get into his good graces did everything they could – legally and illegally - to thwart his opposition. To the point of being suspected of stealing the 2012 election.

That would be bad.

What would be even worse is if the bureaucracy is so politically homogeneous and partisan that evena change of administration will not stop it from committing illegal acts. What if the bureaucracy is no longer under the control of the executive branch of government?  Taranto:

This column is not alone in thinking it's possible the Internal Revenue Service stole last year's election. Economist Stan Veuger describes new research he conducted with colleagues at Stockholm University and Harvard:


[We] set out to find out how much impact the Tea Party had on voter turnout in the 2010 election. We compared areas with high levels of Tea Party activity to otherwise similar areas with low levels of Tea Party activity, using data from the Census Bureau, the FEC, news reports, and a variety of other sources. We found that the effect was huge: the movement brought the Republican Party some 3 million-6 million additional votes in House races. That is an astonishing boost, given that all Republican House candidates combined received fewer than 45 million votes. It demonstrates conclusively how important the party's newly energized base was to its landslide victory in those elections. . . .
President Obama's margin of victory in some of the key swing states was fairly small: a mere 75,000 votes separated the two contenders in Florida, for example. That is less than 25% of our estimate of what the Tea Party's impact in Florida was in 2010. Looking forward to 2012 in 2010 undermining the Tea Party's efforts there must have seemed quite appealing indeed. . . .
It might be purely accidental that the government targeted precisely this biggest threat to the president. It may just be that a bureaucracy dominated by liberals picked up on not-so-subtle dog whistles from its political leadership. Or, it might be that direct orders were given.

As we've repeatedly emphasized, the possibility that the IRS was acting under orders from the White House, as alarming as it is, is far less so than the "dog whistle" alternative. If the IRS did the bidding of the party in power without having to be ordered, then the federal government itself, not just the current administration, is so corrupt as to call into question the very integrity of American democracy.

It’s easier to fire a President than it is to fire an entire government.  That may require a revolution.

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