Washington's unfolding scandal concerning the IRS targeting of conservative groups has, if nothing else, laid bare the rank hypocrisy of too many among the liberal elite.

How many times did we hear liberals bemoaning President George W. Bush's alleged invasions of privacy, his administration's infinite and alleged constitutional transgressions?

One can still hear liberals predicting the end of the republic because Bush's alleged Gestapo, authorized by the dreaded Patriot Act, could peak inside the average citizen's public library reading list.

This last concern was especially, unintentionally humorous. For one, libraries these days have more computers than books, more homeless people taking their afternoon siestas than students studying for exams.

But beyond that, how anyone could worry about whether the government knows which government-owned books you read was always beyond me.

The Patriot Act, of course, was a result of the bipartisan consensus in Congress, following the 9/11 attacks, that America's anti-terror law enforcement tools needed a serious 21st-century upgrade.

The Patriot Act was approved, has since been reauthorized, and liberal prognostications to the contrary, storm troopers have yet to seize library books from the den of MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

And anyone remember waterboarding? Liberals wrung their hands and acted like it was a deep stain on America's moral character that three (three!) terrorist mass murderers had water poured over their faces.

Whether or not this activity produced intelligence that saved American lives (it did) was completely irrelevant to liberals: Torture! They cried. Americans don't torture!

And what about the Valerie Plame CIA scandal? Liberals raged for years about this nonevent, claiming the Bush administration had leaked the identity of an intelligence officer to punish her for her political beliefs.

Never mind that the leak actually came from somebody within the very liberal and anti-Bush State Department; never mind that it proved so innocuous that it failed to generate even minimal controversy outside the MSNBC newsroom.

Liberals love to tell themselves -- and us -- that these things bothered them so much because their highly attuned sense of moral propriety is offended.


Behold what the very liberal, very beloved President Obama has wrought: His IRS, represented by the powerful National Treasury Employees Union, which supported him, has admitted -- admitted! -- that it used the full power of the federal government to target, harass, and marginalize groups and individuals that it identified as the chief executive's political adversaries.

It would be bad enough if it was only the IRS. But no. The Department of Labor also targeted and harassed a supporter of Mitt Romney. And the Department of Justice, in a you-can't-make-this-up twist, has been spying on journalists who are perceived as less than Obama-friendly. Oh, and Obama's CIA has been vaporizing American citizens with remote-controlled death machines.

Spying on reporters? Leaking personal information about private citizens? Asking intimate details of people's personal lives as pretext for granting their groups' tax-exempt status, including prayers?

Ladies and gentlemen, we need no longer fret over when or how tyranny will arrive on our shores. It's already here among us. And like so many other tyrannies throughout history, it came with a smiling and attractive face, promising comfort and hope.

It came, not by force, but was lifted up by an enthusiastic and grateful people. Too late do we realize that the only hope on offer was the hope that we might somehow escape the malevolent attentions of our dear leader and his army of functionaries.

And most of the liberals who claim to have jealously guarded our liberties from the hated George Bush now sit in silence at best, acceptance at worst, as those liberties are openly terrorized.

We know now, at least, what they really cherish. Power.

Matt Patterson is a former congressional media adviser who is now a D.C.-based columnist and author.