Democrats are trying to build a fence around the IRS scandals by building a narrative in which the scandals represent an important area for scrutiny and discussion, but not by those nasty Republicans who just want to score political points.
That was former Obama adviser David Axelrod’s spin this morning on MSNBC. “There are clearly serious things that ought to be looked at, and the Congress has the right to look at them,” he said. “And the question is just, will they overplay their hand? You know, if, Darrell Issa has torqued this thing up so high that he threatens to take the party over the cliff. And if I were Republicans, I would say to Issa, in the parlance of his old business, ‘please step away from that car.’ I think that there’s real danger here for them.”
Right. Because that’s what David Axelrod is worried about. Republicans and their credibility.
Meanwhile, an exasperated Paul Ryan drew cheers from the audience at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing when he rebuked Rep. Jim McDermott for pushing the same line of reasoning that Axelrod is, which is that while these scandals are serious, Republicans are making “political theater” out of them.
What I’m actually a little worried about is that this narrative is going to work simply because the various scandals the Obama administration is mired in are so sweeping and ugly that the public may become fatigued. Whether it’s the alias emails, or the selective prosecutions, or the IRS targeting or the assaults on the privacy of reporters, how much are Americans really paying attention?
And will they accept the invitation from Democrats to roll their eyes, and write it all off as Republicans playing politics?