Adding to the issue are three important facts that I think are getting overlooked in the discussion amid all the otherwise-understandable outrage:
One is that the Tea Party is different from most political groups is that it really is a corporate entity, in large part funded by two, literal corporations, Freedomworks, funded by the Koch Brothers, and Tea Party Express, organized by Dick Armey. At the core base, they are special interest and PR corporations. So, I think it's fair to differentiate Tea Party corporations from political organizations. There's a line to balance for the IRS -- knowing when a group is acting on pure politics interests, and when its acting on corporate interests, but it's important to know that the "Tea Party" itself has created and moved that very thin line.
The second is knowing that the IRS didn't turn down a single of the Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status.
And the third is that the IRS has a history of playing fast and loose with its great power, having gone after liberal groups like the NAACP in the past. The point being that this isn't purely a problem of The Government Going After Conservatives. It's about having proper oversight over the IRS, so that it doesn't improperly target anyone and abuse its power.
Clearly, Republicans will do their best to use this as a political issue, though it appears that the president wasn't even aware of the situation until last Friday. This appears to be an internal IRS issue that needs cleaning up. But we'll know more soon enough.
I look forward to finding out more about what actually occurred, and the IRS does seem right to have admitted error. How much an error remains to be seen. But for now, my perception is -- I think every organization applying for tax-exempt status should be followed up on to make sure it's not skirting the law (though I suspect the IRS doesn't have close to the personnel), but it should have been balanced here and done better across the board on both sides of the aisle.