May 10, 2013

1. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, makes the call for further investigation of what happened with the IRS and Tea Party groups. That means it’s now bipartisan.

2. Liberal pundits, too, have been blasting the IRS and calling for serious investigations (see Greg’s earlier item). Ezra Klein makes a good point, however: while it’s reprehensible if the IRS selectively went after conservative groups, in fact there’s a good case that partisan political groups on both sides have been abusing the tax code.

3. Or, as Kenneth Vogel says, “Tea party 501(c)4s should take comfort in the IRS’s utter incompetence when it comes to enforcing tax exempt laws.”

4. Jed Lewison makes both these points — that a thorough investigation of what happened here is necessary and that the IRS should be cracking down on all political groups — and adds the point that the IRS Commissioner at the time was a George W. Bush holdover.

5. The many varieties of Republican obstruction, listed by Andrew Rosenthal. Probably incomplete, but a good start.

6. Immigration fallout continues, with Heritage study author Jason Richwine resigning from the think tank. Jonathan Chait has an excellent analysis of how the episode illustrates the Republican problem on immigration, and argues that this makes it even more likely a bill will pass.

7. Do we really have to pay attention to the Benghazi talking points? I still don’t see why it matters whether even the “worst” accusations turn out to be true. Maybe I’m too immersed in Watergate, but I know what a real cover-up looks like, and the first requirement is, well, something to cover up. Oh well — I suppose it’s useful to learn a bit more about how government works. For that, see Glenn Kessler’s very plausible theory that bureaucratic infighting is what the talking points edits were really all about.

8. Aaron Blake notes that the Republicans are raising money off of Benghazi.

9. Best thing I’ve seen so far on Hillary Clinton and Benghazi is this one by Francis Wilkinson: “Benghazi was a tragedy. It may even have been a fiasco. But if Clinton runs for president, that won’t be enough. By 2016, Benghazi must also be made a mystery.

10. And Jamison Foser combines those last two items to really nail it.

11. Fascinating interview with one of the winners of the Oregon Medicaid lottery, from Jordan Rau.

12. “The Coming GOP Civil War Over Climate Change,” by Coral Davenport.

13, And a good look at the state of the Georgia Senate race from Ed Kilgore, who speculates about the possibility of the Peach State sending a woman to the Senate.