Friday, May 31, 2013

Catch of the Day

How about one for some solid reporting: Garance Franke-Ruta completely explodes "The Fake Story About the IRS Commissioner and the White House."

The story here was that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman had supposedly spend Barack Obama's first term camped out in the Oval Office scheming and plotting, but as it turns out...not so much.

What's useful about all this? As with the Benghazi talking points "controversy," there's a bit of useful stuff here about how the bureaucracy actually works, and how the "White House" interacts with the departments and agencies -- to begin with, that the White House is physically not just the White House, but the Old (Eisenhower) and New Executive Office Buildings -- the Old one is familiar to those who have been following the Watergate posts, since Nixon had a hideaway there that he used quite a bit (and for which there was a taping system installed). Here's something I don't know: have presidents since Nixon maintained an office over in what's now the Eisenhower building?

At any rate...first of all, it's worth noting that just because the IRS Commissioner didn't really have 157 White House meetings, or even "White House" meetings, doesn't actually mean that there was nothing improper going on. You don't need 157 meetings to do something wrong! It's just more evidence, if any was needed, not to believe everything Bill O'Reilly says or to believe that everything in the Daily Caller has been fully reported.

And, as usual, the fact that this one has been exposed as much less than meets the eye will almost certainly not end it's life as a GOP talking point.

Also: nice catch!


  1. To be fair, Andrew Sullivan's readers made this catch about 17 hours earlier:

  2. Smart cons like Derbyshire were saying initially that the IRS scandal would have no strong connection to Obama, but that it looked like a good general argument about the way the Cathedral is heading and how dangerous it is; the Cathedral doesn't need conspiratorial directives from the top. It wants to grow and so it will become progressively bolder towards any force for its shrinkage, regardless of how insignificant. Of course, repubs are screwing it up (or might dislike Tea Party types) so they're personalizing it.


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