IRS official Lois Lerner has taken the fifth.(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
IRS official Lois Lerner has taken the fifth.(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Even if the President is not directly implicated in the IRS scandal, Charles Krauthammer writes today, it doesn’t mean he’s blameless. Krauthammer says Obama’s dismissive and combative attitude toward the conservative media and advocacy groups might have fostered an atmosphere that made reading a Fox News reporter’s e-mail and singling out tea party activism groups for scrutiny seem okay, or even righteous.

A strange thing happens in the comments. Commenters who might generally not side with Krauthammer accept that he has a point. Behold:

cliffc1

Well written article which pretty much sums up all that transpired and most who have been following to already know.
Better yet this article refrained from slamming Obama or the White house. The article did, however avoid one very important question: Why was the IRS even granting [tax exemptions] to political groups AT ALL?

aaronweiner

This article isn’t all bad, which is pretty good for Krauthammer. He does honestly display a legitimate pattern of White House dislike towards conservatives. Whether this is deserved or not is really up to you, but it exists. Disputes with the article (always a few): Fox News deserves some ostracism. Krauthammer can’t say this, because I’m fairly sure he likes his job AND the channel both, but media watchdogs and ordinary people think it’s a propaganda machine.

Other commenters picked up one of aaronweiner’s threads. Is it reasonable for the president and his administration to treat conservative media and groups differently, given that they oppose him and/or his policies?

Atomic Kommie Comics

“This article isn’t all bad, which is pretty good for Krauthammer. He does honestly display a legitimate pattern of White House dislike towards conservatives.”

And when Bush was in office there was a pattern of White House dislike towards liberals. Your point, son?

philosopherking

Should the POTUS shun?

aaronweiner

I don’t think they deserve to have probes shoved up their computers, but a little ostracism is a healthy thing for a media channel that’s obviously strategically aligned against you. Fox is frequently used as an attack dog against the President; it’s only reasonable that the President should take some offense.

JoseRizal takes the argument a step further. If a political group’s stated goal is to antagonize government and fight taxation, is it reasonable for the IRS to take this … personally? Is it reasonable to expect an anti-tax organization will get more scrutiny — to assume it will be more likely to game the system?

The conservatives want to starve the beast, so obviously this will wake up the beast. IRS actions against the anti-statist Tea Party/Conservatives are warranted.
I mean I pay 35% in taxes as every other citizens and these anti-statist hacks want to pay only 15%. We need the IRS to enforce the end of the bargain by these self deluded anti-statists.

Presumably this would be why avowedly political groups generally haven’t gotten the same tax exemptions as social welfare organizations. Having such power over one’s political opponents gets murky pretty fast.