Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Do the Obama scandals help or hurt the rest of his agenda?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama

Tuesday night, at a Koch Industries-sponsored BuzzFeed immigration event, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith asked the panelists whether the Obama administration scandals now dominating the news made passage of the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill more or less likely. The panelists unanimously agreed it made passage more likely.

Pro-amnesty Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said, “Sometimes with the spotlight constantly on it as an issue can make it tougher.” Anti-amnesty advocate Mickey Kaus agreed, adding, “I think these distracting scandals actually help its chances of passing. Every time [the bill] is at center stage, its chances of passing go down.”

But switching gears to Obama’s other second-term priority, a long-term fiscal grand bargain, the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent found both the left and right in agreement that the Obama scandals have doomed any chance for an agreement.

“One thing I do know from the Clinton years is that presidents need their bases completely fired up and fighting for them when the scandal stuff hits,” progressive strategist Mike Lux told Sargent. “Anything that President Obama does to alienate the base, like cutting Medicare and Social Security, would hurt him badly when he needs the base to the maximum. The scandal talk makes a Grand Bargain less likely.” GOP strategist John Feehery seconded Lux’s assessment: “If enough people in the Republican base believe that the Obama administration is going down in scandal, Republicans are not necessarily going to want to throw him a lifeline by giving him any kind of deal.”

Pro-amnesty Republicans are definitely wary of the perception that passage of Schumer-Rubio could give Obama the comeback moment he needs to turn his presidency around. Hence their insistence, repeated by the Hispanic Leadership Fund’s Mario Lopez Tuesday night, that Obama does not want Schumer-Rubio to pass. We’ll see if pro-amnesty Republicans can convince the rest of the party that: 1) Schumer-Rubio is not a repeat of Simpson-Mazzoli; and 2) passage of Schumer-Rubio wouldn’t save Obama’s faltering presidency. They face an uphill climb on both.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: As new scandals show, people who love power are prone to abuse it
Joel Gehrke: Eric Holder defends AP phone records seizure
Brian Hughes: Jay Carney walks back denial of White House involvement in IRS scandal
Byron York: IRS scandal raises fears about enforcing Obamacare
Michael Barone: Benghazi, IRS scandals constitute politics by other means
Conn Carroll: Don’t forget about HHS’ Obamacare shakedown
Phil Klein: Chart the growth of Obamacare
Sean Higgins: Perez snubs Congress he wants to confirm him

In Other News
USA Today, IRS gave liberals a pass; Tea Party groups put on hold: In the 27 months that the Internal Revenue Service put a hold on all Tea Party applications for non-profit status, it approved applications from similar liberal groups, a USA Today review of IRS data shows.
Fox News, Lawmakers say IRS targeted dozens more conservative groups than initially believed: The IRS targeting of conservative groups is far broader than first reported, with nearly 500 organizations singled out for additional scrutiny, according to two lawmakers briefed by the agency.
Politico, D.C. turns on Obama: The town is turning on President Obama – and this is very bad news for this White House.
The New York Times, U.S. Budget Deficit Shrinks Far Faster Than Expected: The Congressional Budget Office said the 2013 fiscal deficit would fall to about $642 billion, or 4 percent of GDP, about $200 billion less than it estimated just three months ago.
The Washington Post, U.S. ambassador summoned by Russian Foreign Ministry over spy scandal: The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to Russia on Wednesday to submit a formal protest over Moscow’s claim that it caught a U.S. diplomat disguised in a blond wig trying to recruit a counterintelligence officer for the CIA.

Lefty Playbook
Dana Milbank says Obama urgently needs to become a participant in his presidency.
Josh Marshall says the GOP desperately needs the IRS scandal because it can’t talk about illegal immigration or gay marriage any more.
Jonathan Chait claims Obamacare is responsible for the recent slow down in health care spending.
Think Progress celebrates a Republican National Committee Hispanic outreach director’s decision to become a Democrat.
Greg Sargent explains why some liberals believe the Obama scandals are good news for Social Security and Medicare.

Righty Playbook
The Heritage Foundation calls the dip in the federal deficit the “quiet before the storm.”
James Pethokoukis explains why Obama’s scandals may shut the door on the progressive experiment.
Trevor Burrus explains why Obama didn’t need to tell the IRS to target the Tea Party.
Kevin Williamson reports that the question that launched the IRS scandal on Friday was planted by a lobbyist.
Stephen Hayes calls on Obama to release all the Benghazi emails.

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