Paul Ryan appears to be taking a lesson from Eric Cantor’s primary defeat. He’s been attacked from the right for proposing budgets that don’t punish the poor enough and has mostly avoided weighing in on contentious social issues, but he threw the Teabaggers some red meat on Friday.
In a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Ryan went off on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, calling him a liar over some Lois Lerner emails from 2009 to 2011 that were lost when her hard drive crashed. He was incensed that the Committee wasn’t notified that Lerner’s hard drive, as well as the hard drives for six other IRS employees, had crashed until the Committee actually asked about it. Ryan called Koskinen a liar by saying that nobody believes him. Actually, Mr. Ryan, you and the Teabaggers don’t believe him. You’ve also managed to sow doubt into the minds of those who are already inclined to distrust the IRS and pay more attention to Fox News rather than facts because of your Party’s constant demonization of the agency. People who actually pay attention to facts recognize this craven political charade for what it is.
Republicans call this yet another smoking gun conspiracy despite the facts in the case. Rep. Boustany, in making a failed attempt at taking the title of America’s Dumbest Congressman from Rep. Gohmert, apparently watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman one too many times and demanded to know why the Committee wasn’t told about the hard drive:
BOUSTANY: Why wasn’t this committee notified before a decision was made to completely recycle her hard drive?
KOSKINEN: Uh, the committee was not notified because that decision would have been made three years ago. It’s not a decision—none of this had anything to do with the investigation.
BOUSTANY: Well, I would submit it does have to do with the investigation, because we’re trying to get necessary information.
BOUSTANY: It disturbs me that this decision was made internally, without any kind of outside consultation, when this committee was vigorously pursuing information regarding this targeting scandal.
It disturbs me that we have people of such limited mental capacity as elected representatives. Lerner’s hard drive crashed and was recycled in 2011, two years before the House began any investigations in 2013! Now I suppose someone in the IRS could have said, “You know, someday a batshit crazy group of Republicans in the House may want to create a completely phony scandal as part of a campaign to delegitimize the President. Even though our computer forensic experts couldn’t recover any data, we should store that hard drive just in case.” Yeah, that should have happened.
In Friday’s hearing, several Republican representatives took turns demanding to know why they were just finding out about this hard drive crash. The problem with that is that they knew last year. The IRS has turned over 24,000 emails from Lerner and several of them referenced the lost hard drive. The House Republicans ignored those references because they couldn’t see any way to politically profit from the fact at the time.
These phony scandals are really getting ridiculous, but Republicans will keep them alive for the purpose of making Obama out to be either incompetent or an evil genius, depending on what day of the week it is. It has the side benefit of getting brain-dead Teabaggers to vote for them, thinking that the Republicans agree with their conspiracy theories. I’m sorry to tell you, Teabaggers, but they just aren’t that into you. They’re only want you for your vote.
P.S. It’s not polite to mention the 22 million emails the Bush administration lost and how the same Republicans who consider lost emails to be a grand conspiracy now considered it to be an innocuous software issue back then. That wouldn’t be pointing out Republican hypocrisy, after all, it would just be more blaming Bush for everything. /snark