The IRS Probably Targeted Progressive Groups, Too

During the discussion of the Internal Revenue Service scandal, there has been a repeated claim by defenders of the Obama administration that the Republicans are making much ado about nothing, since “progressive groups were also targeted.”

The conservative response to the “progressive groups were also targeted” card has been somewhat clumsy.  Usually the right wing’s first instinct is to come up with numbers showing more conservative groups than left-wing ones getting heightened scrutiny from the IRS.  But it might be a misstep for conservatives to reinforce their criticisms of the IRS by simply showing that more conservative groups were on the BOLO (“be on the lookout”) list.

Remember that Barack Obama has come under fire from critics on the far left, many of whom share, surprisingly, the view that the president has been held captive by corporate interests and is detached from the populist tenets he championed back in 2008.  Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are heroes on the left largely because they exposed the Obama administration’s hyper-reaching surveillance.

African-American pastors, many of whom are center-right Democrats who want to support Obama, have nonetheless issued powerful rebukes against the president for his actions on same-sex marriage.

Latinos, who were a key demographic in the 2012 election, have not been shy about attacking the president for increasing deportations beyond the rate that we saw under George W. Bush.  Democrats who tout Obama’s deportation rates as defense against rightist complaints irritate many Latino liberals, who see it as doubly galling that the first black president would deport more of their friends and relatives, then brag about it to shield themselves from Republicans unhappy with Obama’s immigration politics.  It would seem as though the Democrats assume that Latinos are a captive constituency who can never walk away and vote for someone else.

And then there is the oft-overlooked fact that LGBTs have a love-hate relationship with the president.  While it is true that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are popular guests at fundraisers for groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, it would be grossly inaccurate to state that these high-powered bundling groups actually speak for the mass of gay and bisexual people in their everyday struggles.  Steven Thrasher, a radical gay journalist, was fired laid off* from the Village Voice for lampooning the cozy relationship between “professional homos” and Obama’s uniquely offensive military-industrial complex:

In the fall of 2009, on the eve of the National Equality March on Washington, I covered my first (and only) fundraising gala for the Human Rights Campaign. But before the crowd could be entertained by Lady Gaga, Judy Shepard, and the President of the United States, it was time for a word from our sponsors – the "honor roll": a nearly 10-minute-long video extolling the virtues of player after player in the military industrial complex. I understood why certain entertainment sponsors were HRC donors, given their audiences. I had no clue at the time why it seemed like nearly every defense contractor under the sun was shelling out money to a gay rights group. (As of today, confirmed sponsors for the 2013 HRC dinner, still six months away, already include Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.) Were these death peddlers that committed to equality? Were these corporations so harmed by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? After I grew up a bit in covering gay politics over the next few years, I realized that there is no such thing as "gay politics," only "money politics" – and there’s no money in America like military money. For war profiteers, the issues of marriage equality and gay discrimination in the armed forces were, at best, third in line among their priorities. First, they were paying for access. Since there are so many homos in positions of power on congressional staffs, buying a seat at their gay table was a solid financial investment. If a legislative chief of staff is a power bottom, a quick way for a lobbyist to get access to his boss is to lube him up by schmoozing him at a fundraising gala for his favorite cause.

Does this sound like the words of a gay constituent who can be counted on to rally behind the Democrats in a national election?

Pacifists, African-Americans, Latinos, and gays are key liberal-leaning groups that the president needed very badly in the 2012 election.  It is quite believable, therefore, that the president’s IRS lackeys would be giving progressive 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) groups a hard time alongside the conservatives.  While one part of the Obama election strategy was to muzzle right-wing groups in order to dampen enthusiasm for his Republican opponents, another part of his strategy was no doubt to keep his captive constituencies on the reservation by quieting far-left groups that might encourage those constituencies to wander off.

As the debate about the IRS scandal continues, conservatives should not be thrown off the scent by references to progressive groups that were targeted.  It is totally in keeping with Obama’s corrupt practices for his minions to hound and bother lefties who might become so irritated by the lame liberalism of Obama’s regime that they could take a detour to a third party or else hold their noses and vote for a libertarian Republican.

If the point of sustaining attention to the IRS strategy is to awaken the public to institutional and unconstitutional abuses by Obama and his party, then it is hardly a defense for Obama’s proxies to say, “progressives were also held up and given extra scrutiny.”  If anything, this proves that Obama’s corruption runs so deep that its rot is beyond ideology – anyone who stands in the way of his liberal regime’s power will be crushed, whether on the left or right.

Correction. Steven Thrasher writes:

"My being laid off, the same say seven people were for cost, had nothing to do with that story. The Voice was proud of that story, put it up for awards, and helped get publicity for it when it was published."

Robert Oscar Lopez edits English Manif.