Wednesday, May 22, 2013
How Long Will the GOP Bark Up The Scandal Tree?
Conservative pols and bloggers are as high as glue-sniffers, bingeing on thoughts of driving Mr. Obama from office, gleeful and giddy with visions of impeachment dancing in their heads.
The pundits below, however, put conservatives' premature victory dance into perspective by recalling history and how the GOP overreached the last time they tried to drive a duly elected Democratic president from office.
What many conservatives fail to understand is that a majority of the American people do not share their toxic hatred of Mr. Obama and do not share the GOP's obsession with and dream of destroying his presidency.
The American people voted, by comfortable margins, for Mr. Obama twice to lead their country.
The GOP needs to pay attention to that fact before they overdose on their "Get Obummer" halucinogen.
"Watch the way the Republicans are handling today’s controversies and it’s easy to see how their tactics could backfire again. You would expect that Senator Lindsey Graham, who helped to lead the impeachment proceedings against Clinton, had learned to be cautious in pursuing a scandal. Yet he decided to tie the Benghazi investigation explicitly to the 2016 presidential race, saying that the controversy would doom Hillary Clinton. If Graham were a Democratic plant trying to make the investigation look like a merely partisan exercise, he couldn’t have done better.
Republicans are trying to tie IRS misconduct to President Barack Obama, so far without much evidence. The Republican National Committee is demanding that the president apologize to targeted groups, apparently on the assumption that the public isn’t satisfied with his calling the IRS’s actions “intolerable and inexcusable.”
Other Republicans are saying that the president created a “culture” that made the scandal possible by being a partisan Democrat. These efforts are strained. If the evidence leads to the conclusion that the IRS bureaucracy acted on its own, that is scandal enough; it would serve to strengthen the public’s conservative instincts about the dangers of trusting the government, whoever happens to be in the Oval Office.
Republicans shouldn’t be obsessed with Obama, who won’t be on the ballot again, and shouldn’t make a legitimate inquiry into potential abuses of power appear to be -- or, worse, actually be -- part of a personal vendetta."
"Republicans’ Hatred of Obama Blinds Them to Public Disinterest in Scandals
Republicans are so focused on their bitter battles against Obama, they can’t see how little impact the “scandals” have had on public opinion.
Red-faced Republicans, circling and preparing to pounce on a second-term Democratic president they loathe, do not respect, and certainly do not fear. Sound familiar? Perhaps reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s second term, after the Monica Lewinsky story broke? During that time, Republicans became so consumed by their hatred of Clinton and their conviction that this event would bring him down that they convinced themselves the rest of the country was just as outraged by his behavior as they were. By the way, what was Clinton’s lowest Gallup job-approval rating in his second term, throughout the travails of investigations and impeachment? It was 53 percent. The conservative echo machine had worked itself into such a frenzy, the GOP didn’t realize that the outrage was largely confined to the ranks of those who never voted for Clinton anyway.
These days, the country is even more polarized, and the conservative echo chamber is louder than ever before. Many conservatives made it all the way to Election Day last November unaware that their White House nominee was falling short. How could Mitt Romney possibly lose when everyone they knew was voting for him? Except that he did lose, and it wasn’t even a very close race. Five other post-World War II presidential elections had closer outcomes. The simple fact is that although the Republican sharks are circling, at least so far, there isn’t a trace of blood in the water.
A new CNN/ORC survey of 923 Americans this past Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, pegged Obama’s job-approval rating at 53 percent, up a statistically insignificant 2 points since their last poll, April 5-7, which was taken before the Benghazi, IRS, and AP-wiretap stories came to dominate the news and congressional hearing rooms. His disapproval rating was down 2 points since that last survey. In Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama’s average job-approval rating so far this year is 50 percent. For this past week, May 13-19, his average was 49 percent, the same as the week before. The most recent three-day moving average, through Sunday, May 19, was also 49 percent.
Over the past two weeks, even as these three stories/scandals have dominated the news, they have had precisely zero effect on the president’s job-approval numbers. His ratings are still bouncing around in the same narrow range they have been for weeks. Maybe that will change. Maybe these allegations will start getting traction with voters. But it might just be that Americans are more focused on an economy that is gradually coming out of the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Most economists say the current quarter will show a slowdown in economic growth from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent pace, but they expect the economy to be stronger in the second half of this year.
One wonders how long Republicans are going to bark up this tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while they ignore their own party’s problems, which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly none of these recent issues has had a real impact on voters yet. Republicans seem to be betting everything on them, just as they did in 1998—about which even Newt Gingrich (who was House speaker that year) commented recently to NPR, 'I think we overreached in ’98.'”
Will Republicans Screw Up Again? Some Are Already Overreaching
"Some Republicans are so excited at the thought of multiple controversies dogging the White House over the next few months (or longer) that they are already foaming at the mouth.
For example, on his syndicated radio show late last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compared reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to what happened in Nazi Germany.
And, of course, you knew that some conservatives and Republicans (such as Glenn Beck, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) couldn’t resist mentioning the “I” word — impeachment — almost immediately as they struggled to show their anger and contempt for President Barack Obama and his administration.
But Republicans ought to remember that they have seen this movie before, and the ending was not what they hoped for or expected."