Why Steve Lynch and Other Democrats Are Helping Their Party By Yelling at the IRS

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 22 2013 1:27 PM

Why Steve Lynch and Other Democrats Are Helping Their Party By Yelling at the IRS

Massachusetts Rep. Steve Lynch got one of the first berths at today's House Oversight hearing. He used it to tear bloody chunks out of the IRS. The Republican National Committee actully outpaced Lynch and posted the video first.

Advertisement

Why did Republicans enjoy the Lynch riff? One reason is pure trolling. Lynch lost a U.S. Senate primary to less-conservative Rep. Ed Markey, as everyone expected; Republicans, who never seriously considered Lynch a greater threat than Markey,* are trying to goad Democrats into thinking they passed over a solid candidate and picked Coakley II.

But Lynch and the Democrats are getting the better of this. Over the past week, they've nudged the IRS story from a "White House scandal" or a "Democratic scandal" back to... well, to an IRS scandal. A week ago they were watching stories like this, local reporters buying into the idea that Democrats had goaded the IRS into investigating Tea Party groups. This was pretty risible. Now it's over. Democrats can join the GOP in pronouncing the scandal the work of some bungling IRS agents.

Some Republicans realize that the story has evolved. "We keep asking whether the president knew or didn't know," said Rep. Raul Labrador at a Wednesday roundtable/luncheon with fellow conservatives. "I'm a conservative because I abhor big government." His point was that tying the scandal to individual Democrats wasn't terribly productive, and Republicans needed to focus on the over-arching outrage that the IRS existed and was accruing more power. That wasn't Lynch's focus.

*Lynch was pro-life and pro-Keystone, and Democrats worried that he'd depress turnout or -- at best -- be an unreliable senator. Early on, the NRSC was attacking Markey, not Lynch, in the hopes that a bruising primary would weaken the frontrunner. It only sort of worked. Since then, Republicans have insisted that Democrats threw away an easy election by picking the reliable liberal. In Massachusetts. I know, I don't get it either.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.