|"What do you mean calm down? I've got the President right where I want him. Don't you watch Fox News?"|
Republicans are worried one thing could screw up the political gift of three Obama administration controversies at once: fellow Republicans.
Top GOP leaders are privately warning members to put a sock in it when it comes to silly calls for impeachment or over-the-top comparisons to Watergate. They want members to focus on months of fact-finding investigations — not rhetorical fury.
Why the fuss? Well…
—“People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told a radio host, making plain impeachment was indeed the I-word in mind.
—“You could call #Benghazi Obama’s Watergate, except no one died,” Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) wrote on Twitter.
—“It harkens back to the days of Richard Nixon and maintaining a political enemies list and treating the federal government as a tool to exact the administration’s retribution,” Sen. Ted Cruz told the National Review.
—“This is far worse than Watergate,” Rep. Michele Bachmann said of the IRS mess at a tea party rally.
—“I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term,” former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on his own show before the IRS and AP flaps.
—A PPP poll found all of this to be mainstream Republican thinking, with 41 percent calling Benghazi the BIGGEST political scandal in HISTORY.
It is important to remember that there is no evidence any of the specific controversies directly link to President Barack Obama himself. No one knows what the various congressional probes will turn up, but until there is a direct connection to the president, the best Republicans can probably do is use the three episodes to illustrate the dangerous reach — and what they see as pervasive incompetence — of the Obama government.
Meantime, the incentives for the incendiary are strong, as the PPP polls show: It helps Republicans raise money, get on Fox and excite conservatives. It also provides an easy way for someone like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to show skeptical conservatives that he is one of them — and therefore should not be challenged in an upcoming GOP primary. This is true for most House Republicans: Redistricting has left them far more threatened by a primary challenge from the right than by a general election challenge on the left.
The gut check moment will come when Issa needs to decide on forcing Clinton to testify.
A Democratic strategist, knowledgeable about administration thinking, maintains that calling Clinton back would be seen as an “extreme and unprecedented stunt” and “quite a risky proposition” for House Republicans. “Congress had her an entire day in January, and she kicked their ass,” the strategist said. “If she performed that well a second time, they could lose the issue permanently. They are better off waiting until her numbers soften with time and as she comes back down to earth — in the meantime, beating the drum as a midterm issue that she is ducking and hiding.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are banking on the GOP going overboard — especially with women and minorities. One top Democratic aide, getting ready for combat, emailed that Republicans are likely to come off as “a bunch of white guys hammering away.” “Wonder how they will be if Hillary or Susan Rice testifies?” the aide asked. “Republicans are fully capable of taking an issue that should have valid questions asked, and turning it into another Whitewater investigation that goes way off the cliff. They could wind up making Hillary a sympathetic figure.”
Yes by ALL means put Hillary back on the stand. In fact as a Democrat and lifelong liberal I am TOTALLY on board with that plan.
After all, what could go wrong?
Perhaps our friend Bill Maher explains it best.