Saturday, September 10, 2022
The president’s continued assaults on MAGA Republicans should be properly seen as an attempt both to marginalize the opposition and to intimidate it into submission and silence. The implicit threat in Mr. Biden’s thought-out aggression is that the legal and investigative powers of the state may be deployed against disfavored beliefs.
One of the most significant episodes in the use of state power to intimidate private citizens’ political behavior was the Internal Revenue Service’s investigation during Barack Obama’s first term of small tea-party groups, which organized around the goal of controlling federal spending. Some threat that was.
The IRS’s investigations of 501(c)(4) groups and delays in approving their tax status made a household name out of Lois Lerner, head of the agency’s tax-exempt groups unit. That federal offensive chilled the tea-party movement. With their just passed legislative “victory,” the Democrats and Mr. Biden are creating an army of IRS auditors.
Last October, Mr. Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, issued an extraordinary order directing the FBI and U.S. attorneys to investigate “threats of violence” against school administrators and teachers. The order was directly related to parent protests over racial and gender issues in school curriculums in Loudoun County, Va.