John Dickerson, no conservative, admits what Republicans have been saying for weeks on the slew of scandals in the Obama administration.
He writes on the Internal Revenue Scandal:
Republicans have not overplayed their hand. Unlike the late 1990s, they have the country with them in their pursuit of answers. Americans want to get to the bottom of the IRS mess, the issue that has prompted some of [Rep. Darrell]Issa’s extravagancies. New revelations, like this week’s disclosures about IRS profligacy, are offering fresh reasons for outrage, and the disciplining of two IRS officials for receiving gifts against ethics rules ratifies the investigations. New polls show that the country thinks the president is less trustworthy, so the chances the public will rush to his defense against the meanies going after him is shrinking.
And despite the liberal spin on behalf of the White House, it’s not just the IRS. Benghazi — which we’ve been told by the left is NOT a scandal — and the Justice Department’s unhinged invasion of the First Amendment are resonating with voters:
When it comes to other scandals, the public seems to think there’s enough smoke there, too. In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll respondents were asked separately about Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Justice Department’s monitoring of journalists, and in each case at least 55 percent said the incident raised doubts about “the overall honesty and integrity of the Obama administration.” In January, self-described independents gave Obama high marks for being “honest and straightforward.” Now only 27 percent do. According to a recent Bloomberg poll, 47 percent of Americans say they don’t believe Obama is telling the truth when he says he didn’t know the IRS was giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups. (Forty percent say he is being truthful).
There are five other factors at play here.
1. In poll after poll Democrats’ tell pollsters they are paying less attention than Republicans and Independents are reporting. Maybe this is averting their eyes from an impending crack-up or maybe they don’t want to tell pollsters this is all that important. Regardless, the gap in attention to these issues may translate into a gap in enthusiasm and turnout in 2014.
2. Democrats have done a whole lot of overplaying themselves, apparently under the assumption that a good offense is the best defense. But it is the same hubris and glee to smear Republicans that may be at the root of the scandals. In essence their vicious defense on these multiple scandals is doing Republicans’ some good. See, what they are capable of? Of course people below the president got the “take no prisoners” memo.
3. As they have so often, the liberal media’s cheerleading has done the White House a great disservice by suggesting these scandals would “blow over” and by joining in the counterattacks on Republicans. The president has been under no pressure from his own side to come clean, order people to cooperate and/or fire anyone. The hunkering-down and changing stories have hurt, not helped, President Obama.
4. The “little people did it” excuse is not working out and is unseemly. The Cincinnati IRS office actually wasn’t a rogue operation. Gregory Maxwell, the only State Department official to get ousted, really wasn’t responsible for Benghazi and those that were in the upper echelon haven’t suffered so much as a footnote in the Accountability Review Board report.
5. The president runs the risk that the entire second term will be about scandals. He isn’t getting a grand budget, let alone a budget. Immigration reform is no sure thing. None of his pie-in-the-sky initiatives from his State of the Union address are going anywhere. Tax reform is a non-starter. The only way to sweep the decks would be to fire high-level people and/or agree to a special prosecutor, which would induce howls from his base. He is now trapped in a quagmire of his own making.