Heritage letter to Republicans on Capitol Hill: Don’t legislate, just scandalize Obama

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Boehner Fiscal Cliff

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 9, 2012: U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner addresses the media during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC., November 9, 2012 . (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Finally, we have something out of the Heritage Foundation that is entirely accurate.

In a letter to members of Congress, which was obtained by NBC News, Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation (which recently found itself in hot water over the racial IQ theories of the co-author of their widely panned immigration reform study, Jason Richwine, who resigned from the think tank last Friday), urged Republicans on Capitol Hill not to govern, and instead, to focus on the would-be “scandals” plaguing the Obama administration.

The letter, which is addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, trumpets the negative media buzz surrounding the White House, saying that, “for the first time, the activities of the Obama administration are receiving a sustained public vetting.  Americans’ outrage over Benghazi is amplified by the Internal Revenue Service’s intimidation of conservative grassroots organizations and a cascade of negative headlines.  There is the real sense the Obama administration has been less than forthright with the American people, the press and lawmakers.”

Keep the focus off our differences

In light of the white hot media spotlight on the administration, and to deflect attention from the many policy areas where Republicans don’t quite get along, the letter urges: “it is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.”

“To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference.  Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article.”

The letter is signed by Heritage Action’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael A. Needham.

The FARRM Act (commonly referred to as the farm bill,) is winding its way through the House — and is a key priority of members from rural states. Groups supporting programs for the poor were alarmed this week by word that the bill would cut the food stamps program, which is administered through the Department of Agriculture, as a sop to conservatives, who oppose nearly all federal spending.

Now, it seems that even that won’t pass, if the members — who are aware that Heritage Action “scores” their votes for compliance with the conservative group, and its parent, the Heritage Foundation’s agenda — heed the letter’s commands.

Not governing as political strategy

The idea of Republicans not governing is not necessarily new. The House in the current congress has held votes for only 281 days — at least 43 of those days devoted to repeated votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

TheGrio: Why Republicans are still obsessed with repealing Obamacare

And already, fully one-third of the Republican-controlled committees in the House are spending their time investigating some facet of the administration.

It’s ironic that Jim DeMint, the former Senator and tea party favorite, who was famous for stoking ideological fervor on the right, often roiled his colleagues by supporting tea party primary challenges to incumbents. Now, the offshoot of his version of the once-august Heritage Foundation is trying to bring the right wing together around one of DeMint’s favorite old pastimes: obstruction.

Of course, for the party to turn the idea of devoting 100 percent of its time to scandal-mongering, into victory in 2014 and beyond, they need the mainstream media to continue to play along with the scandal circus. Which they might in the short run, but not likely for long.

Next: Scandalmania won’t last forever