Right-Wing Reflex: Blame Obama First

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page scolds conservatives for blaming the president for the IRS scandal because they lack a better culprit.

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President Obama and the first lady greet visitors at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. (Mark Wilsono/Getty Images News)

In his column at the Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page reprimands the GOP for pointing fingers at President Barack Obama in the IRS scandal, saying that they're doing so because they don't know who's really to blame.

... But the big question occupying Capitol Hill is, who is to blame? House Speaker John Boehner's remarks on the scandal this past week reveal a familiar Republican reflex: BOF -- Blame (President Barack) Obama First -- even as they're groping to find evidence that Obama had anything to do with the IRS scandal.

"It's pretty inconceivable to me that the president wouldn't know," the Ohio Republican said in a TV interview on Fox News Wednesday. He was reacting to Obama's claim a week earlier that he did not know anything about the inspector general's report on the scandal before it was revealed earlier this month.

Boehner acknowledged that White House aides might have deliberately withheld the information from the president, but again Boehner said that was "inconceivable."

IRS officials didn't help much with their stonewalling and convenient claims of ignorance or amnesia before a House investigative committee. And White House officials didn't help matters much by changing their own stories about who in the White House knew what and when.

Yet by the end of the week there still was no evidence that Obama knew about it any earlier than he said he did. Since the Watergate scandal, when President Richard Nixon directed the IRS to audit his designated "enemies," presidents have been extra cautious about steering clear of the agency, which is an independent arm of the Treasury Department… 

Read Clarence Page’s entire column at the Chicago Tribune.

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