No “But” Allowed
Somewhere along my almost-English Minor in college (I had the credits, I never applied for it, it would have been a strike on my engineer’s resume, that was partially a joke), I learned that the worst conjunction you can put into an argument is “but.” So, as NRO pointed me to USA Today for a supposed mea culpa, I was waiting for the weasel phrase, and I didn’t have to wait long. Mr. Miller, take it away:
The Internal Revenue Service recognizes that we should have done a better job of handling the influx of applications by advocacy organizations.
Mistakes were made, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation. We are — and will continue to be — dedicated to reviewing all applications for tax-exempt status in an impartial manner.
Sorry, pal, you just lost me. For reference, the rest is a no-details explanation of why they’d want to focus on non-profits without ever actually talking about what non-profits they focused on. People who don’t actually read the news and just read USA Today are probably wondering what the heck the dude is talking about, if they got past the charts on the first page while running on the bad treadmill in the hotel.
The intent here is to diffuse the situation, which has already gone well beyond a bad non-apology in an unread paper. I still wonder why they even trotted this out, unless there’s panic in the Obama Administration that this is actually going to steamroll. If there’s panic, it’s likely that we haven’t heard of all the places where this was “known” even as it was being denied.
From one viewpoint, this looks like an administration that got caught using strong-arm (Chicago, Alinsky, pick a phrase) tactics on its opponents, and now is explaining that there’s nothing to see here. Jedi mind tricks don’t work, though, when you have a stick in the other hand.
From another viewpoint, this is all just opposition tactics trying to discredit the hard-working government employees who are just saving government money by checking up on credentials. I suppose you can decide which one is more correct.