McConnell: Fight Back Against Obama Admin's 'Culture of Intimidation'
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will address the American Enterprise Institute on Friday and urge Americans to fight back against the the "culture of intimidation" that extends throughout the Obama administration.
McConnell will say Americans now know, because of the IRS's targeting, that the government can isolate its opponents if it gets its hands on personal information and even "force you off the political playing field."
"Call out these attacks on the First Amendment whenever you see them, regardless of the target. Because the right to free speech doesn’t exist to protect what’s popular. It exists to protect what’s unpopular."
The most important lesson from the timeline of the IRS's attacks is that they represent an institutional desire to use the machinery of government to intimidate political opponents.
"The only way to beat a bully is to fight back," according to McConnell. "So be wise to the ways of the Left, and never give an inch when it comes to free speech. McConnell warned last June of a "grave and growing threat to the First Amendment" and "that threat has not let up."
Our ability to freely engage in civic life and to organize in defense of our beliefs is still under coordinated assault from groups on the Left that don’t like the idea of anyone criticizing their aims, and from a White House that appears determined to shut up anybody who challenges it. On the outside, there’s a well-documented effort by a number of Left-wing groups like Media Matters to harass and intimidate conservatives with the goal of scaring them off the political playing field and off the airwaves.
Attacks on the First Amendment are coming from outside and within the government, "something the Obama Administration has been engaged in from its earliest days."
This "culture of intimidation" extends "throughout the federal government, to places like the FEC, the FCC, HHS, the SEC, and as all Americans now know — even to the IRS" and are as "virulent" as ever.
"This administration has institutionalized the practice of pitting bureaucrats against the very people they’re supposed to be serving, and it needs to stop," McConnell will say.Those on the left said he was "full of it" last year when he addressed these concerns.
Obama's political response to Citizens United was to "use a blunt political weapon to use against one group and one group only: conservatives." When Obama called out groups like Americans for Prosperity, it was "like sending a memo to the IRS that said 'audit these guys.'"
"What happened before this targeting began is just as important as what happened after," according to McConnell. "What matters here was the atmosphere; what matters is the culture of intimidation this President and his allies created around any person or group that spoke up for conservatism — or against the direction the President and his administration wanted to take us."
McConnell does not "believe that the President ever actually picked up a phone and told someone over at the IRS to slow-walk those applications or audit anybody," but Obama "didn't have to" because "the message was clear enough."
Regarding the news that unionized IRS workers will get $70 million in bonuses, McConnell says it is an example of the IRS union "thumbing its nose at the American people" and "telling them in the clearest terms possible that it doesn’t care about this scandal, or how well government works, or how well it’s serving the public."
"It’s pure arrogance, and it reflects a sense of entitlement better suited to an aristocracy than to a nation of constitutional self-government," he will say. "So it’s increasingly appropriate to ask whose interests these public sector unions have in mind — the taxpayers’, or their own?"
"For the Left, this isn’t about good government or corporate governance, it’s about winning at all costs – even if that means shredding the First Amendment," he will say. "And that’s why we need to be vigilant about every one of these assaults."