In a somewhat belligerent, almost paranoid speech given today to the American Enterprise Institute, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) lashed out against the Obama administration for failing to disprove that the president’s administration was directly involved in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Huh?:
“Now we have an administration that’s desperately trying to prove that nobody at the top was involved in any of this stuff, even as they hope that the media loses interest in this scandal and moves on.”
The media has pretty much lost all interest. But note what McConnell is trying to pull off here: before, when the scandal was at its peak, the burden of proof was on the Republicans to attach the White House to the IRS employees in Cincinnati. They couldn’t do it. So now, given that there is no evidence whatsoever incriminating the president’s administration, McConnell is desperately trying to frame the question a different way: Obama hasn’t proven he wasn’t involved.
Thankfully, as Jonathan Chait notes, McConnell’s speech marks the point when the IRS scandal has mercifully entered its “post-fact” phase:
McConnell’s speech today is a kind of covered retreat, signaling the IRS scandal’s turn into a vague trope that conservatives use with other members of the tribe, the way liberals liked to say “Halliburton” during the Bush years, to signal some dark beliefs they don’t need to back up.
Now the IRS can happily go back to being boring again.
(Photo by flickr user Greater Louisville Medical…