Recently, it has been reported that the IRS targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. This Tuesday, the acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller broke his silence on the scandal by writing a piece for USA Today stating, "Mistakes were made." Miller's political jargon-laden writing is very hard to understand, and it almost seems like this was intentionally done as a sort of defense mechanism from criticism. After all, it is hard to criticise what one does not understand.
Miller also reminded his readers that IRS employees are "civil servants" and that while they "could have done a better job" (an understatement if I have ever heard one), "new procedures [will] ensure that the mistakes won't be repeated." Additionally, he reminded his audience that the mistakes were ultimately because of the increase of groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status, not because of "any political or partisan motivation."
To paraphrase Miller, one might say, "That while mistakes were made, the public servants of the IRS are moving the process forward." This language brings to mind a humorous speech by the late comedian George Carlin.
In this 1999 speech given before the National Press Club, Carlin criticizes political language. The resemblance to the Miller piece is almost comical. In his speech, Carlin says that politicians must be careful to "not actually say anything." A major parallel is Carlin's observation on politicians "insincerity," as Miller's statement is anything but sincere. Truly, for there to be a touch of sincerity in the statement the IRS should have come clean about their unfair treatment of right-wing groups long before the story was released.
However, Miller is not the only one guilty of using such language. With questions looming over Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and now Attorney General Eric Holder's subpoena of Associated Press phone records, this Monday was certainly a scandalous day for the Obama administration. Throughout the day White House Press Secretary Jay Carney found himself using the same language Miller used. In a press conference regarding the IRS scandal, Carney warned Americans "not to jump to conclusions" because, as Carlin might ask, "Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?" While no one has been proven guilty just yet, I certainly hope that if the IRS allegations are proven to be true, all involved in this misconduct will "take responsibility for their actions."