George Will on IRS tea party attacks: ‘How stupid do they think we are?’
George Will joined the chorus talking about the prospect of impeachment for President Barack Obama after last week’s admission from the Internal Revenue Service that it had targeted groups with the phrases “tea party” or “patriot” in their tax-exempt applications for extra audits.
On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Will proposed a scenario wherein the Bush administration had targeted groups with the word “progressive” in their names and concluded the situation would be much different in terms of expressions of outrage.
“Mr. Hicks, when he was in Libya, said his jaw dropped at the explanation back here,” Will said. “This was a jaw-dropping moment. In response to a question at American Bar Association convention, a second-level IRS person said, ‘Oh by the way, we did target these people.’
“The Tea Party people have known about this and were working on this,” Will continued. “But they said — it was just some odd underlings out in Cincinnati who did this and there was no political motive whatever involved. Now the question is, how stupid do they think we are? Just imagine, Donna Brazile, if the George W. Bush administration had an IRS underling, he’s out in Cincinnati, of course, saying we’re going to target groups with the word ‘progressive’ in their title. We’d have all hell breaking loose.”
Will noted that one of the items in the 1973 impeachment articles of then-President Richard Nixon, which ultimately led to his resignation, described the Nixon administration’s use of the power of income tax audits in a “discriminatory matter.”
“This is the 40th anniversary of the Watergate summer here in Washington,” Will said. “’He has, through his subordinated and agents, endeavored…to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner,’ — Section 1, Article 2, the impeachment articles of Richard Nixon.