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Just like my fellow flame-protectors here in the right wing Tea Party menagerie, I reacted with mouth-foaming, blind, my-cage-has-just-been-rattled rage at the news that the IRS had “lost” the emails of Lois Lerner and her cohorts. Like my fellow Patriots, I watched the March 2014 video where IRS Commissioner Koskinen, like an adult playing “trial” with a group of annoying children, virtually smirks under examination by Rep. Jason Chaffetz; and I could feel the steam pipes in my emotional plumbing hiss and explode. The fathomless condescension, the utter certainty in Koskinen’s mild, lofty gaze, that this little charade would do no more than make for some amusing tales at Sunday bagel brunch with his liberal buddies, was intolerable chagrin.
How could they even imagine that they would get away with this?! What dastardly crime could those destroyed (we are not children here) emails have revealed that would make this kind of gambit thinkable? “Put Lois Lerner in jail. That will make the IRS more cooperative!” I tweeted.
I was beset with cross-eyed fury.
And then I thought: God. What a bloody wonderful feeling to get so angry.
Really, you have got to look on the bright side of these things. And if righteous anger is not a bright side, then God definitely did not make little green apples.
In the totemic book on pop psychology entitled The Games People Play, (there’s a real blast from the past, eh?) one of those “games” identified by author Eric Berne was called “Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch.” Berne described it as a game of positioning yourself in a relationship, with a continuing but unresolved conflict, where you set a trap or draw a line and just wait for the other person to cross it. And when they do, you pounce!
Now I’ve got you, you son of a bitch!!!
Because justified, pristine, irreproachable rage is really cathartic.
That’s all well and good, of course, but what about the IRS targeting the Tea Party groups? Recognizing the psychological underpinnings of our anger, while it can add depth to our self-realization, is not yet so satisfying as actually dismembering our prey.
But here’s another silver lining to the recent turns in the IRS scandal (I’m feeling like a regular Pollyanna today): we don’t even have to dismember our prey…they are dismembering themselves. The Obama Administration says “the computers crashed” and I say: “goooaaaallll!!!!”
This may seem paradoxical. Just when the Obama zombies have outrageously, brazenly erased the electronic evidence that might have lead to frog marches on CNN and orange jump suits all around, it is time for rejoicing! How can that be?
The idea lies in the fallacy of lawyer-think – the notion that what matters is what is “admissible in a court of law.”
Let me explain in a somewhat elliptical fashion.
Most of the not-too-young among us remember the O.J. Simpson murder trial. This high-profile, “celebrity crime on prime time” event was a milestone in the 24-hour news cycle’s infancy (and that of CNN). Americans followed the court case with the passion of connoisseurs. All kinds of water cooler debate spun off of every day’s revelations.
At the time of the trial (shortly after the verdict, as I recall) a cousin of mine said to me: “of course he is guilty.” I, in fact, agreed with him but I wondered why he was so sure. Cousin Jim said simply: “because he acted like a guilty man.” Boing. If you get in a car and, with your best buddy along for the ride, lead a parade of police cruisers through the streets of Los Angeles holding, supposedly, a gun to your own head – whether or not this is admissible as evidence in court – you are probably not just overcome with remorse at the loss of your estranged wife.
O.J. Simpson acted like a guilty man.
As a nation raised on legal TV shows, we are inclined to blindfold ourselves to legally inadmissible evidence. But our brains know better.
Same with Koskinen. Maybe they really have destroyed – permanently – every last trace of Lerner’s emails. Maybe Lerner herself will, as a consequence, never face prosecution. But do we really care? (I mean that as a serious question). In the court of public opinion — and that’s really all I am talking about here — the issue is conspicuous as it never was before and the corruption is plain as day.
We might not be able to measure it (aside from Obama’s recent 39% approval rating) but “the dog ate my emails” meme will result in real gains for us at the ballot box in November and beyond.
But to the Ricochet community I ask this: what matters more to you? Watching Lerner and Koskinen frog marched to jail? Or picking up the Senate in 2014 with two seats to spare?