By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
The Obama Administration was rocked last week by two political scandals that Republicans claim makes Watergate look like a jaywalking ticket. Pious GOPers decried the lack of response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks and then blasted the Administration (as well as US Senators Chuck Schumer and Jeanne Shaheen) for sicking the IRS on their lapdog grassroots movement that’s neither grassroots nor a movement, the Tea Party. Seems the Republicans say they can do national defense better and are willing to produce quotes from doctored emails to prove it. On the home front, the knives were out for that whipping boy of the “Don’t Tax Us” crowd — the IRS. Calling for jail sentences, leading Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and 29 other Republicans who sponsored legislation to really, really, make IRS political retribution illegal (it is already) are shocked … shocked that some politically active conservative groups were scrutinized over tax exempt status when they were forced by two rogue IRS examiners to fill out long questionnaires that went public. Never mind that no group was actually denied the status despite their applications that said that these “social welfare” organization weren’t really social welfare organizations anyway but political ones, or that that “legalest” of tax dodges –501(c)(3) & (4) status — has become a bad joke used to attack the other guys politics. What mattered to leading Republicans now (Oh, yeah in less ox-gored days a year ago, Senator Minority leader Mitch McConnell blasted liberal groups for you guessed it — using tax exempt status to attack the GOP), is that they finally have something to use politically against the Administration. You can almost hear the sighs of relief coming from the parlors at the country clubs and over the lemonade and cookies in the church basements can’t you?
But are the scandals resonating with the rest of the American people? The answer seems to be: “Well, that depends.” If you’re Republican and conservative, the answer is most assuredly “yes.” For the rest of America it’s a decidedly “Maybe.” Here’s the recent polling about who’s watching the scandals:
By a slight majority, Americans are interested but clearly not enthralled. Now let’s see who’s watching by political affiliation:
The other question is, “Who thinks the scandals deserve major investigations to –as those public-spirited Republicans say — get to the facts?”:
Thus, according to Gallup, Americans are paying less attention to the Benghazi and IRS “scandals” than they do to other major news stories. According to the polling service the interest in the two stories is “well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years.” Are the GOP engaging in more wishful thinking as most of their punditry did in the last Presidential election?
The answer here is another “maybe.” Let’s look at political affiliation since the 2012 elections:
If I’m reading these tea leaves correctly, the number of folks identifying themselves as GOPers looks to be holding as steady as Lindsey Vonn (ok I like Lindsey) on a downhill run. So maybe what Fox News claims was an outright theft of the last presidential election and what Republican lawmakers see as their last, best hope to cripple the Obama Administration is fools gold after all.
Of course, things can change in an instant in D.C. as we all know, but do Boehner, McConnell, and their Tea Party cronies look like first place finishers to you?
If so, I’ve got some Triple Crown bets on Orb you might like?
Source: National Memo
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger