A liberal friend of mine told me last night he was disturbed by the Benghazi coverup but not as much by the IRS fiasco. He certainly believed it was bad, and the “explanation” it was low-level people didn’t wash with him (funny how the guys who always profess to be for the “little guy” are the first to throw them under the bus). So when I asked him why it didn’t bother him that much, he said it was because all Administrations do it- targeting the enemy comes with winning the election. True and cynical. BUT
What I thought was how Nixon and his people defended bugging the White House back in the 1970’s. Their defense was Kennedy and Johnson did it, and FDR may have done it. Also true. But no one bought that then, except for a few Nixon diehards. The “everyone does it” defense shouldn’t wash with bugging and using the IRS for a weapon.
Having said that, these things, which are really bad, aren’t Watergate (not yet, and I don’t believe they will be). Watergate was a crime, a direct subversion of the Constitution, with high-level officials getting arrested. This isn’t that.
But in some insidious way this is worse. It is not legal, but moral rot. Lying to the public, covering up, using the IRS as a weapon (after all these other times – that should be a warning NOT to do it) . It is arrogance that bespeaks moral failings. Haldeman and Ehrlichman and those guys would have realized what they were doing was wrong, they just thought they could justify it. These people believe they are right. To me, even scarier.