My View: Scandals? Midterm elections must be near
June 11, 2013
The "scandals" seem to be heaped one on top of another on the White House lately. While there is some fire in the substance, the hyperventilated, over-the-top smoke blown mightily by the GOP is also about the 2014 midterms. It is a political strategy that is sound and fury likely to signify little in the end.
The GOP seems determined to pin the problem on President Obama, best if he can be found to be the actual perpetrator (and so far they have failed to do that), or at least the head of an overreached, out-of-control, incompetent administration. Therefore, the GOP hopes the President will be so wounded, Congressional and Senatorial elections will go their way as voters become disgusted with anything tied to him.
The GOP views the rollout of Obamacare like a fox salivating at the possibilities of catching chipmunk in a rock garden. They hope Obamacare will fail miserably. They have laid the groundwork to self -fulfill their prophecy. Whenever some southern and Midwestern governors and state legislatures were in GOP control, they have refused to set up the state managed exchanges…resulting in the mistrusted feds having to do it for them and leaving a gap of millions who would not have access to expanded Medicaid or Obamacare. They have cut out funds slated to encourage the currently uninsured into subscribing to the subsidized exchanges, hoping if they built it, no one came.
Except where they have tried to sabotage the rollout, the GOP is taking a risk. The rollout might work…because California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, and New Jersey and Pacific Coast states are well-prepared. The cost of the subsidized premiums in California have come in much lower than actuarial studies predicted. Colorado is well ahead of the game, already testing technology and with 17 private insurers signed on to participate.
Where the GOP will be able to howl in protest and point to failure will be in states where they are already strong. All politics in electing representatives and senators are local. They will be preaching to their choir gerrymandered non-competitive districts. Any failures of the rollout could blow back on the GOP when the successes in other states could be contrasted with the bungling in the purposefully unprepared states.
The GOP has tried to inflate the "scandals" by painting them as "Nixonian." In their zeal to try to draw comparisons of Obama with Nixon they fall very flat. Nixon himself ordered the IRS to audit politicians, groups and journalists on his enemies list. It was not a case of bungling by career service bureaucrats and an overprotective White House staff, as it appears involved in this current "scandal".
The attempt by Nixon to hush up the Washington Post was not because the CIA or national security was jeopardized by their reporting. The Watergate coverup was his directed attempt to cover his role in a criminal act. However, it was AP's and Fox's reporting of the leak that blew the cover off covert action against Al Qaeda in Yemen, endangering our war against terrorists, that triggered the Attorney General's investigation.
Nothing this year equals the Iran Contra Scandal in which the Reagan administration skirted laws to run Central American covert actions, or the revenge-seeking W Bush administration blowing CIA operative Valerie Plame's cover.
As a strategy, even these more substantive scandals have not changed the party domination in the immediately following elections in the past. Economic issues were always larger factors.
So…fire away GOP. Voters will begin asking where is your replacement for Obamacare or what you will do about employment and the disappearing middle class. A GOP blocking immigration reform will only feed Democrats' winning demographics. Those are the real game-changers.