What happens when you always cry wolf?

Responding to a John Kass column is always a complicated proposition because, not only does it encourage him, but it lends a certain credence to his feeble attempts at whatever it is he does. On the other hand, you also know this writer simply can’t resist commenting on a clear cut case of irony.

And this one starts with Kass’s rambling Sunday ruminations on his complete and utter shock at the lack of regular folks’ indignation over the IRS’ recent IT problems.


Briefly, in light of those tax folks targeting Tea Party groups, some investigators sought certain agency emails only to discover they’d been deleted and the hard drives destroyed. Now, you know I avoid conspiracy theories like a bad case of Ebola, but this one doesn’t pass the dog ate my homework laugh test.

But unlike Mr. Kass’s inexplicable incredulity, I firmly believe the lack of outrage over this not-so-sudden turn of events is eminently easy to explain. So though I’m surprised it needs to be done, being the magnanimous soul I am, here goes!

If you think the IRS providing extra scrutiny on groups that espouse the cause du jour is anything new, then I have a bridge over the Fox River I’m willing to part with cheap. In the 60’s it was the counterculture, in the 70’s it was feminist organizations, and in the 90’s it was gay rights groups.

If fact, the IRS managed to go after businesses and regular folks with such zeal that Congress felt compelled to rein ‘em in via the IRS Reform Act of 1998. Prior to that, the IRS was essentially an unregulated agency with very little oversight who abused their power as often as they saw fit.

These humorless folk work on a simple bell curve basis in which they look for those dreaded “red flags” that sit a standard deviation or two out on either end. In this case, it was the proliferation of conservative groups that got their attention.

For the sake of argument, let’s say they’re right and the IRS intentionally targeted the Tea Party. As one of my favorite attorneys likes to say, “What are your damages?” Not getting non-profit status as quickly as you hoped?

No one’s free speech was abridged, no one went to prison, and no one was beaten in the streets. So while it certainly shouldn’t have happened, if that’s the worst calamity that befalls your organization this decade, then you’re probably doing OK.

So that’s Kass’s first problem. Noboby’s getting excited about this proposition because there’s nothing to get excited about. Steve Forbes was right! Let’s go with a 15 percent flat tax and abolish the IRS! Problem solved!

But what really sinks Kass’s “what’s with all the apathy?” contention is my second point. After you’ve already cried “wolf” at every possible turn, when a real scandal finally rears its ugly head, no one gives a shit!

Conservatives have attacked the president for a fake birth certificate, phantom college transcripts, being weak, abusing drones, getting out of Iraq, not going into Libya, going into Libya, national health care, going on vacation, wearing “mom” jeans, helping the Syrian rebels, not helping the Syrian rebels, not going into the Ukraine, George W. Bush’s recession, faking the unemployment rate, being a “dictator,” and Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.

Kass may not be the President’s worst critic, but considering how low these “true believers” will go, that’s like saying After Earth ain’t nearly as bad as Grown Ups 2. The truth is, you really don’t want to have to see either one.

Bolstered by a caffeine laced case of vanilla Coke, I scanned through years of Kass columns over the weekend and, while he was generally generous to George W. Bush, he blamed the President for everything short of the weather.

This included, but was not limited to, Benghazi, the closing of the World War II Memorial, the VA problems, politicking the “Chicago Way,” a supposed $300,000 discount on his Chicago house, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, shaking hands with Al Sharpton, referring to him as “President Selfie,” Benghazi, not standing up to Putin, Benghazi, slapping small business owners in the mouth, and issuing a bizarre call for the President to attend at least one funeral of a murdered and “ghettoized” Chicago black youth.

Kass’s increasingly acerbic attacks have been relentless, beyond partisan, and they evince a kind of irrational bitterness that most opinion columnists do their damndest to avoid. I suppose this wouldn’t be the first time a member of the Greek Orthodox Church couldn’t hide his true “colors.”

So now we finally have a real scandal and Kass, who has the nerve to complain about his own self-inflicted obsolescence, wonders why no one cares. Apparently there aren’t any mirrors in his house.

2 thoughts on “What happens when you always cry wolf?

  1. Indeed, the real scandal here is how poorly the legislation that created the 501(c)(4) “social welfare” tax exemption was written. For the IRS, enforcing this legislation is like trying to nail gelatin to the wall.

  2. Dave,

    That is true. Although an irony I discussed before was that these Tea Party groups didn’t need to go through the IRS to get non-profit status.


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