The air is already beginning to leak out of the Benghazi balloon, after The Weekly Standard and ABC News’ big scoop regarding the editing of post-Benghazi attack talking points turned out to be a case of misread email summaries and much ado about very little.
The president announced the resignation of the interim IRS chief, and named a new interim, following an Inspector General’s report that found no White House involvement in the short-cuts a pair of Cincinnati-based employees took to try and deal with a flood of 501(c)4 applications. And with just one-third of the improperly flagged organizations being “tea party,” Republicans may find themselves counting on one-third of the level of outrage from mainstream journalists who will eventually move on to other stories.
There’s also the seizure of AP reporters’ phone records — which has truly captured the attention of the media (particularly because it’s about the media). While it’s legitimate ground for inquiry, even alarm, by members of the press, the trouble there is that Republicans during the Bush administration were in favor of wiretapping and urged the White House to find the leaker who exposed a successful attempt to infiltrate al-Qaida. Also, it’s hard to imagine Republicans sustaining righteous indignation on behalf of the “lamestream media.”
Still, you can’t fault the GOPers from trying — RNC chairman Reince Priebus called for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the AP phone records… and John Boehner wants people put in jail over the already closed IRS case… and Senator Marco Rubio is convinced that a culture of intimidation and downright Chi-town thuggery has cast a veil over the whole Washington enterprise, which means they have to come together to do immigration reform, or something…
If Heritage Action rules the day, this will be the strategy of the Republican Party going forward, to 2014.
Good luck with that.
The full Heritage letter is reprinted below. Or you can read it here.
And you can follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.
May 16, 2013
Heritage Action to House Leaders: Keep Focus on Scandals
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader
H-329, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor:
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.
Recent events have rightly focused the nation’s attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration. 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.
Make no mistake, principled conservatives will still oppose bad policy if it comes to the floor. Rather than scheduling such legislation for consideration, we urge you to keep the attention focused squarely on the Obama administration. As the public’s trust in their government continues to erode, it is incumbent upon those of us who support a smaller, less intrusive government to lead.
Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action for America
View the letter here.