Baghdad Jim McDermott (D-WA) played the “blame yourselves and Bush” card to the conservative panelists testifying on the Hill today about being targeted by Obama’s IRS, and Rep. Ryan (R-WI) was having none of it. The Huffington Post sets it up (bolded emphasis added by me):
“The mistake here was that the staff organizing the organizations used the names of the organizations rather than the work they do and asked improper questions to figure that out,” McDermott said. “It’s clearly wrong. It was inept, stupid and a whole lot of other things. But let’s not get lost. During the Bush administration, liberal groups were targeted without any concern by Mr. Issa or anyone else on this committee. The Republicans were looking for a conspiracy where there isn’t one. Mr. Issa says ‘he can feel it in his gut’ that someone’s broken the law.”
“Just ask yourself which is more likely,” McDermott continued. “That mid-level employees overwhelmed by four-times as many applications as before made stupid, irresponsible shortcuts? Or that there is an administration-wide plot to take down community organizers. Let’s not forget that this happened under an IRS commissioner appointed by George Bush and was investigated by a Republican inspector general.”
McDermott went on to say that while what happened was an “unfair” and “incredibly inconvenient” mistake, he reaffirmed that he had not “heard a single word” about which questions should be asked regarding tax-exempt requests.
“Anything else like the circus that’s happening in the Oversight committee or here is simply political theater,” McDermott said. “It is diverting attention from what we ought to be doing on this committee is re-writing the law if it’s wrong.”
Fox News Insider provides a brief recap of Ryan’s response:
The former vice presidential candidate was up next, and he pivoted from his planned questions to take on McDermott’s assertions. When he announced his departure, those in attendance at the hearing erupted into applause.
Ryan said a few weeks ago former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller told the committee that groups on the other side – identifying themselves by words like “organizing” and “progressive,” for instance – were not subjected to the same treatment.
John Eastman of the National Organization for Marriage told Ryan that he has proof that the IRS broke the law by leaking a list of the organization’s donors to a group that is opposed to their views. He said the group’s donors were then harassed.
“We have not heard any testimony that this is happening to groups that have the opposite views. So to suggest that these citizens are to blame for applying? I don’t understand how anyone can make that conclusion,” said Ryan.
What Ryan went down the panel of conservatives testifying and confirmed one by one what their accusations were against the IRS and what proof they had, which basically torched McDermott’s argument that this wasn’t politically motivated and was like the IRS’ alleged targeting of liberal groups under the Bush administration. My summary of his remarks, however, do not do them justice. Please make sure to watch the video below:
I don’t care what anyone says. I’m d*mned to have a guy like Paul Ryan on our side.
Rep. McDermott was kinda right about one thing, I have to say. It was a bit like political theater today, except he was the actor, playing the role of “concerned politician” while Rep. Ryan was the head-shaking film critic panning the Washington Democrat’s awful and very unconvincing performance. Bravo, Mr. Ryan well done. Please continue to shame them, sir. Shame them all.