Will Obama's Scandals Mobilize Conservatives For 2014?
While Obama's approval ratings are unscathed for now, the election map for the 2014 midterms is very different. Liberals' fetishism with gun control cost the president his most precious moments of his second term, it went down in flames, and made the election map more favorable towards Republicans. Now, with the AP, Benghazi, and IRS scandals dominating the news cycle, will it carry over until next year?
It certainly looks that way, especially with the revelation that the IRS targeted conservatives for their political beliefs. It was already a suspicion amongst Tea Party groups, and now they're vindicated. Furthermore, the IRS draws the ire of the right anyway – and coupled with malfeasance – could mean turnout gold by the time 2014 rolls around. To make things more sweeter for Republicans, Democrats have yet to field a heavyweight candidate in any of their senate races. Mitch McConnell, who is beatable next year, campaigns against no one for the time being.
The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin cited Stuart Rothenberg today on how these scandals could lead to a replay of the 1974 elections when Republicans got shellacked after Nixon left the White House in disgrace. Rothenberg noted that:
[t]he Obama scandals put the White House “on the defensive and should boost enthusiasm on the political right throughout this year…. Given the different natures of midterm electorates, the new political narrative increases the risk for Democratic candidates in red states, where Democrats must win independent and, in many cases, Republican voters to be successful.”
Rubin wrote that the following races have changed due to these developments.
- West Virginia (Open seat; John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV, a Democrat, is retiring): From tossup/tilt Republican to lean Republican.
- South Dakota (Open seat; Tim Johnson, a Democrat, is retiring): From tossup/tilt Republican to lean Republican.
- Arkansas (Mark Pryor, a Democrat): From tossup/tilt Democratic to pure tossup.
- Louisiana (Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat): From tossup/tilt Democratic to pure tossup.
- Alaska (Mark Begich, a Democrat): From lean Democratic to tossup/tilt Democratic.
- North Carolina (Kay Hagan, a Democrat): From lean Democratic to tossup/tilt Democratic.
Like with Nixon, the Obama administration is on defense, and the political narrative has changed. Nixon was unable to reap the benefits of removing the United States from Vietnam, as Obama is unable to pursue his second term agenda since these scandals have 1/3 of all House committees investigating some aspect of his presidency. Finally, the frivolous and hopelessly idealistic aura of hope and change that Obama proudly capitalized on is tarnished. Yet, Rubin also mentioned that Republican overreach during the Monica Lewinsky scandal cost them five House seats, with no gains in the senate.
These scandals may or may not be as bad as Watergate, but 2014 could be a lot like 1974. Richard Nixon wasn’t on the ballot; he’d already been forced to leave office.Republicans lost nearly 50 House seats and four Senate seats, ceding control of both houses to the Dems. Before anyone belabors the point that no one thinks Obama will resign, understand that the point of the reference is to remind us that scandal-plagued White Houses are bad for their own party in midterms. The counter-example is 1998 when the Republicans were perceived as going nuts on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and lost five seats in the House and gained none in the Senate. (Not since 1934 did the party out of power in the White House fail to make gains in the midterm of the president’s second term.)
To sum up, Democrats are kidding themselves if they think the scandals aren’t bad news for 2014, but Republicans must stick to the facts and appear judicious in order to capitalize in the midterms.
We have a golden opportunity to cut the achilles tendon of this administration – and halt the expansion of liberalism run amok. The latter of which is the most important goal of winning in 2014.