There are two dangers: You either inspire the other side's partisans to mobilize, or you present yourself as such a menace to the citizenry that you scare voters who might sit out the election, and they go to the polls to vote you out.
The IRS scandal isn't likely to encourage either of these outcomes. The public seems to think the matter is worth pursuing. Fifty-eight percent surveyed in a recent Bloomberg poll say Congress is spending the right amount of time on the investigation or should spend more. Forty-three percent of those surveyed in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said IRS scrutiny of conservative groups was part of a widespread effort by those in government, compared with 29 percent who saw it as a case of a few officials acting on their own. Even 63 percent of Democrats want an independent prosecutor to investigate the IRS abuses.
When it comes to other scandals, the public seems to think there's enough smoke there, too. In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll respondents were asked separately about Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Justice Department’s monitoring of journalists, and in each case at least 55 percent said the incident raised doubts about “the overall honesty and integrity of the Obama administration.” In January, self-described independents gave Obama high marks for being "honest and straightforward." Now only 27 percent do. According to a recent Bloomberg poll, 47 percent of Americans say they don't believe Obama is telling the truth when he says he didn't know the IRS was giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups. (Forty percent say he is being truthful).
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Scandalabra Overreach? Not Likely.
At Slate, John Dickerson says that "in a nonpresidential election year where base motivation is even more important, the IRS investigations offer perhaps the greatest opportunity for Republicans to score free points in the history of politics." He explains that there is little risk of overreach: