FLASHBACK 2009: Obama Jokes About IRS Auditing Political Enemies
Back in May 2009, Professor Glenn Reynolds, better known to his followers as Instapundit, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he discussed some odd rhetoric from President Obama. Obama had been refused an honorary doctorate by Arizona State University, and Obama remarked, “President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.” Reynolds pointed out:
Just a joke about the power of the presidency. Made by Jay Leno it might have been funny. But as told by Mr. Obama, the actual president of the United States, it's hard to see the humor. Surely he's aware that other presidents, most notably Richard Nixon, have abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass their political opponents. But that abuse generated a powerful backlash and with good reason. Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system.
As it turns out, the IRS under President Obama routinely gave special scrutiny for groups with the terms “tea party” or “patriots” in their titles. His little joke doesn’t read much like a joke anymore.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).