In an attempt to steer the conversation away from the scandals plaguing the White House this week, President Obama left D.C. to focus on jobs.
While he was out, the House Ways and Means committee held hearings and grilled soon-to-be-former acting IRS chief Steven Miller about what he knew and if he misled Congress during his hearings last year. “Americans already hate the IRS and Republicans already hate the IRS and they’ve been trying to make the case that this is part of some bigger administration scheme to chill political speech,” Cycle co-host Krystal Ball said on Friday’s show.
Right now Republicans are trying to figure out how to make these scandals work in their favor for 2014 and motivate voters in what is usually a low turnout election. “I don’t think any of these will have long term resonance with persuadable voters,” UP host Steve Kornacki said. It could also be “a situation where Republicans go way too far and it provokes a backlash on the Democratic side that boosts their turnout in 2014 and hurts the Republicans.” Kornacki’s foreboding echoes Ari Melber’s, in which he tells the GOP not to place too much stock in scandal.
The advice may be sound, especially because Republicans have yet to realize that most Americans don't seem to care. A recent Gallup poll showed that only 54% of Americans are following the IRS scandal.
Still, even if the majority of Americans don't care and Obama is out of town and pushing a jobs message, the scandals will still be simmering when the president returns. Republicans will make sure of it.