Is Scandalmania making amnesty more likely?

posted at 6:41 pm on May 17, 2013 by Allahpundit

This point has been made many, many, many times elsewhere this week, but let me put out a little BOLO of my own just in case attention on our side of the aisle is starting to wander too far from immigration. There are two theories on how Scandalmania might affect O’s second-term agenda. Theory one: It destroys any chance of compromise on legislation by rendering O so politically toxic that congressional Republicans simply can’t be seen to have anything to do with him. To borrow Scarborough’s point from this morning, if you think the IRS is corrupt and/or incompetent in processing tea partiers’ tax-exempt applications, why not also assume that the feds would be corrupt and/or incompetent on gun control — or border security? Whatever shred of trust in government that was left among Republicans is now gone, which means O’s second-term agenda is hopelessly off the rails. See, e.g., DrewM’s post this morning for an example of the post-scandal “shut it down” approach in action.

Theory two: Scandalmania actually makes compromise more likely because it gives congressional Republicans all sorts of exciting new ways to seem tough on Obama while they’re busy making policy deals with him. Have you noticed that Marco Rubio’s been very eager this week to throw roundhouses at Obama and the IRS? There’s a reason for that:

“Rubio has gone full bore on the IRS,” said Republican consultant Keith Appell, who is active in the conservative movement. “Immigration is a tough, tough fight he may not win, and these scandals are giving him a bit of a reprieve to talk about something else.”

Rubio was the first member of Congress to call for the resignation of the IRS chief, pre-empting President Obama’s first public comments on the controversy. Rubio followed up his demand Monday morning with a bill that would make it a crime for IRS employees to target political groups, a fiery speech on the Senate floor, and a flurry of television appearances in which he also condemned the administration’s response to the Benghazi attacks and the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records…

The IRS controversy adds to a growing portfolio that will help inoculate Rubio from being pigeonholed as the Hispanic senator who wants to allow 11 million illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.

Yes, it’s true, beating on O for his scandals helps Rubio in 2016, as it would help any prospective Republican candidate, but that’s not the point. The point is that, arguably, being tough on Obama for Benghazi and the IRS actually enables immigration reform because it earns Rubio some extra conservative political cred with the right that he can spend on legislative compromise. How could he be selling out to O on amnesty when he’s on Fox News destroying him for his scandals every night? It’s a strategic move, and one which Obama’s probably happy to tolerate in the name of getting something big passed in his second term. Remember, Obama crony Dan Pfeiffer said plainly three months ago that “As long as Sen. Rubio and the rest of the gang are making real progress on immigration reform, we are happy to be on the sidelines and even serve as a punching bag every once in a while.” That’s exactly how Rubio’s treating him now. Mickey Kaus gazes upon the kabuki before him and calls it (tongue in cheek) Obama’s most fiendish plot yet:

In its most fiendish strategem yet, Team Obama has launched a series of not-quite-devastating but press-obsessing scandals against itself! The confluence of the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi and AP stories means that dreadful details of the Schumer-Rubio bill will get pushed off the front pages. Reporters who might otherwise cover it will be temporarily sent to Cincinatti to interview IRS whistleblowers. Meanhwile, the scandals give Sen. Rubio and other Republicans a chance to bash Obama about something new, giving them the anti-Obama cred that might allow them to quietly sell out on amnesty and hand Obama his greatest second-term triumph! Similarly, the scandals give conservative activists an alternative, substitute target for their outrage, all the more so because the anger is legitimate. As Greg Sargent put it, the scandals could “distract right wing base for long enough for Graham and Rubio to slip immigration reform past them.” (Dem strategist Joe Trippi tweeted in response: “Shhhhh …”)…

P.S.: The scandals might also prevent Team Obama from launching a campaign of presidential speeches and press events designed to mobilize public support for amnesty–something that didn’t work on Obamacare, or gun control, or on any issue, for that matter, and that in this case would probably only succeed in rousing the opposition. Cunning, I tell you. …

He posted that yesterday afternoon at a little past 4:30 p.m. Two hours later, news broke that the House’s version of the Gang of Eight, which had been at an impasse on immigration reform just two days earlier, had miraculously broken through and reached a deal. Dude?

Exit question: Which theory is correct, the first or the second? I know which one the GOP intelligentsia prefers, but they won’t go to the mat on amnesty if there’s still lots of resistance on the right to the Gang of Eight bill. Is there, or are the IRS and Benghazi scandals the main levers of discontent for the foreseeable future?

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Theory two: Scandalmania actually makes compromise more likely because it gives congressional Republicans all sorts of exciting new ways to seem tough on Obama while they’re busy making policy deals with him.

If some in the GOP are that eager to make deals on making illegal immigration legal then Scandalmania doesn’t matter one way or another. Nor do elections.

farsighted on May 17, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Does Rubio have any idea how evil Schumer is?

Dasher on May 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Congress should not pass any new immigration laws until it learns to enforce the immigration laws we already have.


wren on May 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Does Rubio have any idea how evil Schumer is?

Dasher on May 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Nope. He’s like the new guy in a factory assembly line that always gets sent to the boss to ask for a left-hand screwdriver.

slickwillie2001 on May 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM

I just don’t see how theory 2 works. How is a Republican supposed to get so much “extra credit” from criticizing Obama to counter the negative of an amnesty? It should be expected that Republicans criticize Obama for obvious administration blunders!

netster007x on May 17, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Remember, Reichert is the person that caught the Green River Killer mass murderer. I gotta believe this weasel, Miller, isn’t going to be able to get away with lying to him

Fed45 on May 17, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Look at the photo.

Schumer stares fixedly at Rubio, and thinks… “I’m so proud. If I had a son, he’d look like Marco.”

There’s real parental love there. Think about it. When was the last time you saw Schumer not snatching the microphone, but instead, willing to bask in the reflected glow? Rubio is Chuckie’s new Gillibrand.

And then there’s Juan McLame at the left side of the picture, apparently trying to remember why he’s there, and whether he’s moved his bowels yet today…

bofh on May 17, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Weird. I am reading the amnesty comments underneath the Lanny Davis post. With this and the time travel, HotAir is spooky these days.

Missy on May 17, 2013 at 10:35 PM

How much longer will we have to deal with these RINOs and sleazy Dems in this gang of 8? Obama has been coming to Texas a lot lately. Every time he does a new challenge happens down here. The legislature just held a vote sponsored by the Dems to try and pass a term limit law. Why? To oust Perry, of course. We have a HUGE illegals problem here in Texas. I GUARANTEE that if amnesty goes through Obama will get his wis and my Texas wil be blue. The illegals will vote in huge numbers for Dems. I just have to wonder. Do you suppose that the IRS gave info to the DNC on these RINOs? Have they been coerced? Rubio is Hispanic but I find it hard to believe he would jeopardize his political aspirations so stupidly. This makes zero sense. The Dems are playing these idiots for fools. I dont care what they are saying amnesty will finish this country. We cannot add countless millions of new people on the welfare rolls. NO AMNESTY!

neyney on May 17, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Congress should not pass any new immigration laws until it learns to enforce the immigration laws we already have.


wren on May 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM

We all know what repeating the same actions while expecting different results means. Until the Repubs own up to this, they are still the other side of the same coin.

ghostwalker1 on May 17, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Amnesty is dead… However in the meanwhile you can create all scary scenarios that would not happen…

mnjg on May 17, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Rubio followed up his demand Monday morning with a bill that would make it a crime for IRS employees to target political groups, 

Classic politician, ain’t no problem that more laws won’t fix,eh Rubio? Stupid. It’s a scandal because the letter and spirit of the law was being violated. you want to preempt rogue agents? Remove their immunity. Just as “ignorance/mistake is no excuse for the taxpayer” so should it be for the agents. if the agent is wrong then the IRS is liable for triple damages; with 1/6 coming directly out of the agent’s paycheck and another 1/6 out of the supervisor. A few losses in court will force the bad apples out of the business out of self preservation. Simple. but where are our representatives getting out there pushing a Bill of Rights for taxpayers? If a law is unclear then judgement must default to taxpayer advantage until changed. Better yet eliminate the IRS and the 16th. But barring that then definitely give the taxpayers tools to fight back, fight being the operative word.

AH_C on May 17, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Immigration is way down the list of concerns for Americans. This IRS thing is HUGE. It virtually guarantees picking up seats in the midterms. The LAST thing the GOP should do is go on a James Sensenbrenner, JD Hayworth, Tom Tancredo Anti Illegal moron fest for the next few months.


Speaking of moron fests….

Interesting. Thought the biggest scandal was Benghazi. You all don’t have the patience to ride a “scandal” to fruition do you?


Reading comprehension not your strong suit I see.

By the way, for folks who haven’t been paying attention, the amnesty gang in the House has put together their plan.

xblade on May 18, 2013 at 12:15 AM

President Barry is a multi tasker, he can handle another mess along with taking away our guns. Just think, he’ll be giving us another radical Supreme Court judge before he skips town.

RdLake on May 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM

It’s a wonder no one has slipped & fell on the slime trails Schumer & Durbin leaves behind.

RdLake on May 18, 2013 at 1:01 AM

You can see the Socialists plan here. A tyrannical Socialist government regime that targets the political opposition, wanting to open the gates for a bunch of third worlders that are use to tyrannical Socialist government regimes who will vote for them in exchange for welfare and handouts.

Rockshine on May 18, 2013 at 1:33 AM

Pundits these days speculate on every damn thing-no matter how baseless or ridiculous the topic or reasoning. So much time to use up-so much space to fill.

Goodale on May 18, 2013 at 2:21 AM

Have you noticed that Marco Rubio’s been very eager this week to throw roundhouses at Obama and the IRS? There’s a reason for that:

And it’s the same reason Grahamnesty overplays Benghazi and every other national security issue he can posture in front of cameras…namely that he’s a douchebag liberal on amnesty and needs any issue he can find to pander to conservatives and pretend he are one.

Same with Rubio. This is a head fake…don’t buy it.

Jaibones on May 18, 2013 at 7:44 AM

As for amnesty, if this was such a great move for conservatives and will buy us so many illegal alien votes … why isn’t the GOP get them now? Reagan’s amnesty in 1986 didn’t come with all this alleged penalty baggage … it was a clear amnesty, and it was ours.

So why are the vermin invaders and “natural conservative constituency” voting 80% pro-abortion, open borders, pro-gay marriage, welfare for everyone, $100 billion in food stamps? Hmmm?

Jaibones on May 18, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Let’s face it, it’s the huge IRS code that makes scandals like this possible. It’s also 800 page bills, that slip in pork and language that make enforcement difficult, we need to guard against.

It’s about time for the gang of 8 to be forced to answer questions about what is really in the bill. If they’re not willing to be specific, just don’t pass it. It’s about time we become more pro-active on these issues and write our Congressmen, Democrat or Republican, and let them know how we feel.

bflat879 on May 18, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Have you noticed that Marco Rubio’s been very eager this week to throw roundhouses at Obama and the IRS?

It doesn’t take the slightest bit of courage to throw punches at Obama and the IRS after this week. He11, even Tingles and Piers Morgan jumped on that train.
Since Rubio now seems like some sort of de facto face of the Rep. party, it could be viewed as suspicious if Rubio didn’t come out with some criticisms. Just more butt covering on his part. Rubio earns no points now, nor will he ever. One giant stab in the back is enough to know that he can not be trusted. His support for amnesty -and his deceptive ways of trying to sell the idea – is not a minor transgression that can be overlooked.

lynncgb on May 18, 2013 at 8:30 AM

I’ve spent the last four years arguing that we need to stick together and avoid third party candidates. It’s not just Ron Paul libertarians leaving the GOP. There’s also quite a number of “a pox on both their houses” conservatives and moderates. This amnesty bill will split those people off irrevocably, IMO. It’s a LIE from start to finish, with every aspect that one might have used as a selling point, undone somewhere else in the bill.

Marco Rubio can shoot his mouth off all he wants at Barack Obama. His leadership on this particular bill has proved that he’s either just another “identity” politician… or a well-named RUBE. Neither qualifies him for higher office. That is, unless he wants to run as a Democrat.

Murf76 on May 18, 2013 at 9:42 AM

This whole analysis assumes we’re just a bunch of idiots, mushrooms in a dark room waiting to be fed lies. So epic fail on this analysis.

WordsMatter on May 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

There is no upside to amnesty. Rewarding lawbreakers encourages more people to break our laws. Amnesty leads to amnesty leads to amnesty leads eventually to complete disrepect of all of our laws and there will only be anarchy.

Oracleforhire on May 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Well, Mickey Kaus certainly got the fiend part right. Rush still calls MR a conservative but I think this is the 1% of the time that he’s wrong. I don’t trust MR and haven’t from the get go. He sounded good at first but politicians always tell you what you want to hear then do what they want when they get elected.

Kissmygrits on May 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM

These Obama scandals have given the Republicans a chance for a very good election night in 2014 maybe even extending into 2016.

Hopefully they won’t repeat their mistake of the 2012 elections when they decided to move hard left running a liberal Massachusetts Governor as President and then watching four million of their base voters stay home on election night 2012.

RJL on May 18, 2013 at 6:57 PM

OMG….WMAL in DC is going wall-to-wall with propaganda ads supporting illegal alien amnesty. It’s absolutely painful every time they go to commercial. I have to mute the radio (which is bad because I forget to unmute for the next 1/2 hour)

olesparkie on May 20, 2013 at 6:35 AM


If you are talking about the Rubio ads run in Florida .
They were paid for by a group founded by Facebook
founder and staffed by dem campaign pukes .
And no one says a word .

Lucano on May 22, 2013 at 6:40 PM