Mitch McConnell: "It's been a tough week for this Administration"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on the Rusty Humphries radio show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the IRS scandal, the AP scandal, the Health and Human Services scandal, the Benghazi scandal, and other events in the Obama Administration’s “tough week.”

McConnell noted that the IRS scandal was not the first effort undertaken to “squelch and silence the voices of critics” during the Obama years, looking back to early efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to muzzle insurance providers who criticized ObamaCare, and “efforts at the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to make it difficult for corporations to engage in the kind of free speech that they’re guaranteed under the Supreme Court decision of Citizens United in 2010.”

“And now, finally, we have evidence that the most powerful agency, arguably of the federal government – the most feared agency of the federal government – the Internal Revenue Service, seeking to quiet the voices of critics of the Administration,” McConnell continued.  “It’s pretty darn clear that this Administration will use whatever power they have to whip people into line, and make it difficult for critics to express themselves in our free society.”

The Minority Leader appreciates the irony of the media turning against the Administration over the Associated Press phone-snooping scandal, when McConnell himself was recently the target of illicit surveillance by a “progressive” group.  The media took his privacy issues much less seriously.  He said he had invited reporters at a press conference earlier in the day to ask themselves, “Before you file your stories tonight on the IRS abuse, just ask yourself: ‘How would I write this story, if this were a Republican administration?'”

McConnell was not inclined to accept the excuse of top Administration officials that they don’t know what their subordinates are up to.  “These people are not incompetent,” he said.  “There’s been a pattern of abuse of power in this Administration, and if this were a Republican administration, it would be front page, above the fold in the New York Times for weeks on end.”

He held out some hope that embarrassed Democrats in the Senate might join in oversight hearings to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, and welcomed the attention of civil liberties groups such as the ACLU.  “I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about what ought to be done until we know all the facts,” he advised.  “Who knew this was going on, how high up did it go, was it ordered by someone higher up?”

McConnell theorized that the Administration’s false talking points on the Benghazi attack were an effort to protect the Obama 2012 campaign narrative.  “The effort to kind of airbrush this all needs to be explained to the public,” he insisted.  “Your immediate thought is, conceding this is al-Qaeda, it got in the way of the narrative six weeks before the election – that the War on Terror was basically behind us, because Osama bin Laden was dead.”