GOP Could Gain in 2014 Thanks to White House Scandals

Obama administration thrown off stride and Republicans are poised to strike.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during his daily news briefing Tuesday, May, 14, 201, which was mostly devoted to dealing with the aftermath of recent scandals regarding the Justice Department and the IRS.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during his daily news briefing Tuesday, May, 14, 201, which was mostly devoted to dealing with the aftermath of recent scandals regarding the Justice Department and the IRS.


 The Republicans eager to make hay over the trio of scandals recently plaguing the Obama administration have a lot of legitimate criticisms to lob, and while some worry about potential backlash if they overreach, others say the time to strike is now.

[BROWSE: Political Cartoons on the White House's Scandals]

"Anytime the administration gets involved in more than one scandal it makes it very difficult for them to get back on message and it allows Republicans to drive their messages home that the White House is ineffective and is showing poor leadership," says Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant in Washington, D.C., who adds, "there's not really any downside to them doing that."

Republicans have been hammering the White House for weeks on their concerns regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack in September. On Friday it was learned the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for audits. And then Monday, Republicans and Democrats alike were outraged by the revelation the Department of Justice subpoenaed wide spread AP phone records in relation to a terrorist investigation leak.

Political consultants on both sides of the aisle say the danger for President Barack Obama on the IRS and Justice Department scandals is that they reinforce the Republican charge his administration is too 'big government,' as well as vindictive and intrusive.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took to Twitter for his condemnation.

A line has been crossed by our federal government.Demand an investigation of the #sayfie #Tcot

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 14, 2013

Current #IRS commissioner,should resign or be fired. He has known since last May that conservative groups had been targeted. #IRSscandal

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 14, 2013

The more moderate Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, sent a letter Tuesday to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demanding answers for how and why the IRS acted as it did.

"The American people cannot and will not tolerate the abuse of that power to erode their most fundamental rights," Collins wrote. "It is imperative that the Department act decisively to put an immediate end to such abuse, ensure appropriate policies are in place to prevent future such abuses, and give a full accounting to the American people of how such an abuse of power was allowed to occur."

One former Senate aide who now works as a Democratic political consultant says the key to understanding how deeply these controversies will impact the 2014 midterm elections will be in the fundraising.

"In the immediate short term this looks like it's going to energize Republicans and reduce Democratic giving, which is already fairly exhausted, I've heard," he says. "But on the other hand, it's still just so far outside of the White House that I think that the political impact is being overstated."

[VOTE: Will Washington's Season of Scandals Hurt Obama?]

Bonjean calls the IRS and Justice Department controversies "onions that are unraveling" and doesn't see an end to either story line soon. And politically, that's just fine for Republicans, he says.

"Eventually, closer to the election, [Republicans] need to show how they would be doing things differently," Bonjean says. "But at this point there's very little downside to the Obama White House dealing with bad news."

Some Republicans, remembering the political backlash following their pursuit of scandals during the Clinton administration, have urged a cautionary approach to the current events.

But a top Republican fundraising consultant agrees a propos nothing, there are huge fundraising sums at stake with each political revelation.

"This is the type of thing that gets another $100 million into Karl Rove's coffers this year," he says, referring to a top GOP fundraising hand.


More News:

  • Bipartisanship Rings Out in Washington Over IRS Scandal
  • AP to Attorney General: 'No Possible Justification' for Seizure of Phone Records
  • Organizing for Action, Obama's Group, Has Yet to Apply to the IRS