A panel discussion on Wednesday night’s episode of the Republican talk show “Hannity” ended with everyone agreeing that President Barack Obama must have used the Internal Revenue Service to steal the 2012 election, keeping tea partiers so busy with filling out documents to obtain tax exempt status that they were unable to register enough new voters to put Mitt Romney over the top.
Bill Cunningham, host of the CW’s daytime talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show,” articulated this theory, and Sean Hannity appeared to agree. Cunningham also went on a conspiracy monologue to rival even Alex Jones, somehow even managing to mash-in talk of the attack on State Department personnel in Benghazi, Libya.
“They said, ‘Let’s use Chicago-style politics and destroy the tea party,’” he insisted. “It was done with the media and it was done by individuals like the IRS. There was offices in Ohio — they were scared to death about losing Ohio — there was dozens and dozens of tea party groups in Ohio. So what they said is, ‘We’re going to destroy the tea party by keeping them tamped down with their political activities.’”
He went on: “So instead of going out to register new voters, the tea party, what were they doing? Responding to the IRS with page after page. And so the 4 million fewer voters who voted for Romney who didn’t voted for McCain, 4 million less, it’s because they attacked the tea party and took away their ability to organize. Just like Benghazi. Committing to re-elect the president, not about national security but about Obama’s re-election security, the IRS was all about electing Obama.”
He then turned to fellow panelist Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist, and began shouting at him over comments made by Fox News contributor Bob Beckel, one of the network’s token Democrats from the Carter administration. “Joe Trippi! I’m watchin’ your buddy Bob Beckel today on ‘The Five.’ Even Bob Beckel said, ‘You know what? He lied. It wasn’t about national security, it was about his re-election security.’ And Beckel said it was a coverup. Trippi, do you join Beckel in calling this a damnable coverup? Yes or no?”
Trippi said he did not think what happened in Benghazi is being covered up, but demurred to his conservative counterparts and suggested that many Democrats will side with Republicans on wanting the administration to be more transparent about spying on The Associated Press and using the IRS to selectively target tea party groups if that’s what happened.
Seeming to reinforce Cunningham’s theory, Hannity chimed in: “Joe Trippi, I got a question for you. Joe Trippi, when you look at Benghazi, IRS and the AP reporter scandal, there is one common thread. Do you know what it is?”
“No Sean, but you’re going to educate me,” Trippi replied.
“Re-elect the president, that’s number one!” Cunningham said. “And abuse the power to re-elect the president.”
So far, there’s no evidence that the White House or President Barack Obama were involved in the IRS scrutinizing overtly political groups applying for tax-exempt status. Since the IRS voluntarily disclosed this information, progressive groups have come forward as well saying they received questionnaires from the nation’s taxing authority after filing for 501(c)(4) status, which enables groups to completely conceal the sources of their funding under the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that there will be a broad investigation into whether the IRS unfairly targeted conservative groups. He added that he was not personally involved with spying on The Associated Press, and that Deputy Attorney General James Cole ultimately signed the subpoena for reporters’ records. Holder also specified that the investigation which netted AP communications started after one of “the top two or three most serious leaks I have ever seen,” that “put the American people at risk.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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