Republican lawmakers and tea party activists came together Wednesday to launch a broad assault on the Obama administration, vowing to continue the investigation into the IRS and other scandals at a Tea Party rally in which one congressman called the president “Barack O’Nixon.”
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp used the phrase to describe President Obama during remarks in which he compared recent scandals to Watergate. “The Republicans in the House, we must use our majority, our subpoena power,” he said. “To expose the cancer that is growing in that house, and this presidency.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also compared the president to Nixon at the rally organized by Tea Party Patriots.
“What’s happened with the IRS is an absolute outrage,” Cruz said. “It is an abuse of power, and it fits into the pattern of the Obama administration of abusing government power and then misleading the American people about it.”
“President Obama needs to tell the truth,” he continued. “When Richard Nixon tried to use the IRS to target his political enemies, it was wrong, and when the Obama administration does it, it’s still wrong.”
While he did not invoke Nixon in his rhetoric, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp vowed to continue the investigation into the IRS story.
“We will get the answers. It will take time, but we will get the facts, and we will follow them wherever they lead,” Camp said. “We will get the truth, and we will hold those responsible accountable.”
Camp made no reference to transcripts released by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings Tuesday in which a self-identified “conservative Republican” denied allegations that the White House directed the IRS targeting. Instead, Camp referred to an entirely different IRS official who claimed in his interview ”everything comes from the top”—without specifying who at the top directed the behavior.
Other lawmakers, ranging from Sen. Rand Paul to Rep. Louie Gohmert, railed against big government and the Obama administration specifically in a series of varied and sometimes vague attacks.
At one point Gohmert cheered on a “majority of Americans” for wanting gridlock in Congress so lawmakers “don’t keep passing laws every day” a claim which directly contradicts a recent Gallup poll in which more than half of all Americans said gridlock and a lack of productivity was the number one reason they disapproved of Congress.
Glenn Beck commanded the stage for the longest speech, in which he repeatedly invoked the legacies of Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., and other civil rights leaders as he called for a fight against the oppression of government.