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Though it fits well with the usual rightwing whining that Obama's to blame for everything since Hoover, that's not their primary motivation here. They're trying to get ahead of the IRS questioning their partisanship. If they can't neuter the IRS before it classifies them accurately, they're gonna die even sooner than expected.

That's certainly part of it. That's why I find it so puzzling that no one is asking why partisan political groups are applying for non-profit status in the first place. The idea that the tea party is primarily a social welfare organization and that it's primary activities are not political is a joke. They're not only primarily partisan and political, they're explicitly partisan and political.

But that doesn't fully explain this "scandal." Read an interesting piece about why Mitch McConnel is pushing this: he fears a tea party challenger when he runs for reelection and this will put him in their good graces. Some dinosaurs in the GOP are terrified of the tea party. Boener just held another vote to repeal Obamacare (the 37th) just so congressional freshmen who'd missed the 36 previous votes can tell their constituents they voted against it. The Republican Party has become like a cult, holding ritual votes and paying tribute to fearsome bogeymen.
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