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Scandal vs. scandal

January 10, 2014 - Jim Anderson
I keep hearing politicians and commentators comparing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s response to the traffic jam scandal to President Obama’s response to the IRS scandal.

Christie has been contrite and decisive, the talking point goes, while Obama did little more than deny and drag his feet.

The Wall Street Journal goes so far as to say this:

“... Compared to using the IRS against political opponents during an election campaign, closing traffic lanes for four days is jaywalking.”

Sure. If only it were that clear-cut.

There’s no doubt that crucial New Jersey traffic lanes were closed for no valid reason. As for whether the IRS targeted political opponents, what’s the background?

The IRS was deluged with applications from supposed “social welfare” organizations, seeking confirmation of tax-exempt status when their primary purposes may have been political. So IRS staff used key words such as “tea party” to identify groups for scrutiny.

That revelation was a problem until it was learned months later that the key words for scrutiny also included such terms as “progressive” and “emerge.”

Granted, some people at the massive IRS may have been tougher on right-wingers. Not good.

But, again, it’s not as obvious or outrageous as the governor’s associates fouling up a region’s traffic — and emergency response times — out of spite.

In the case of the IRS, the scandal arguably is whether any of the quasi “social welfare” groups — on both the left and right — should be tax exempt in the first place.

As for the abusive lane closures, the scandal is the lane closures.



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