Leading Democrats, not just in the White House, have been lulled into a false sense of security by what they see as the manic, knee-jerk criticism that dominates the right wing. Obama’s reputation for neglecting problems he sees as beneath him has been cast in an even more unflattering light by the varieties of dismissiveness on display in his party. Whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s trademark evasive laugh or Nancy Pelosi’s infamous incomprehension of the constitutional issues surrounding Obamacare, too many top Democrats are seen too often acting as if no reasonable opposition to their agenda can even exist.
This, more than any one scandal, is likely to hobble the party for the next few election cycles. It’s relatively easy to wave away a single scandal. It’s one of the hardest tricks in politics to wave away concerns that you wave away concerns too much.
“Sometimes stuff just happens,” Lerner emailed the IRS techs in 2011 as they tried to salvage her hard drive. World-weary wisdom, perhaps. But it’s the kind of involuntary campaign slogan that costs political parties big elections.