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Opening Arguments

Two 10s

We're innundated with Top 10 lists this time of the year. Most of them are dreck, but a couple of interesting ones caught my eye. First is the list of President Obama's top 10 constitutional violations of 2013. The one that's most infuriating comes in at No. 6:

Political profiling by the IRS. After seeing a rise in the number of applications for tax-exempt status, the IRS in 2010 compiled a “be on the lookout” (“BOLO”) list to identify organizations engaged in political activities. The list included words such as “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” and “Israel”; subjects such as government spending, debt, or taxes; and activities such as criticizing the government, educating about the Constitution, or challenging Obamacare. The targeting continued through May of this year.

I don't know if this one was the most damaging to the country longterm but it's the most outrageous abuse of power and probably contributed to Mitt Romney's loss. My first reaction to the list was, "Wow, so many violations they can be enumerated," but my second was, "Only 10?"

To get over feeling bummed by the administration, get a pick-me-up by reading a good conservative columnist or two. Here is somebody's list of the 10 best conservative columnists of 2013, with samples of their columns. There are some I'd add to the list, and I'd move the ones on it around a little, but this is such a valuable service that I'm not inclined to quibble. Three of the 10 appear regularly on our pages -- Rich Lowry (No. 7), Jonah Goldberg (No. 6) and Thomas Sowell (No. 2). There are at least two more I'd really like to have the rights to -- Ross Douthat (No. 10) and Mark Steyn (No. 5).  I'm going to make you go to the link to see who No. 1 is, but check out this example of her writing (oops, big clue there):

Bullying is the essence of politics for the left. They bully those they disdain, like Palin, with adolescent insults. They bully everyone with the threat of losing a career because of a word. They bully Americans with more than 1 million federal regulations. They bully men through feminist-designed divorce and sexual harassment laws –magically suspended in the case of President Clinton because liberals approved of his pro-abortion views.

That isn’t the rule of law; it’s the rule of bullies.

Conservatives believe people have a right to be left alone, whether from the word police, the government or delusional nuts, no matter how much they want “closure.” But most of all, conservatives don’t think the rules apply only to our political opponents — a liberal trademark, borrowed from the feminists.

We apply our principles even to people whose politics we dislike.