Some Republicans are so excited at the thought of multiple controversies dogging the White House over the next few months (or longer) that they are already foaming at the mouth.
For example, on his syndicated radio show late last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compared reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to what happened in Nazi Germany.
And, of course, you knew that some conservatives and Republicans (such as Glenn Beck, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) couldn’t resist mentioning the “I” word — impeachment — almost immediately as they struggled to show their anger and contempt for President Barack Obama and his administration.
But Republicans ought to remember that they have seen this movie before, and the ending was not what they hoped for or expected.
There’s no doubt that the three controversies — Benghazi, the IRS and the Associated Press — play into the GOP’s hand by raising questions about “big government.” They give Republicans an opportunity to challenge the administration’s truthfulness and to argue for a check on the president during his final two years in office.
While the president hasn’t been implicated directly, that certainly doesn’t eliminate the political risk for the White House or for Democrats over the next few month or possibly all the way to next year’s midterm elections.
But let’s not forget: Republicans failed to capitalize on President Bill Clinton’s inappropriate conduct by over-playing their hand and pushing impeachment. Not only did they fail to drive him from office, the GOP ended up losing a handful of House seats in the 1998 midterms instead of adding seats as initially expected.
Republicans allowed themselves to look as if they were primarily interested in scoring political points and overturning the results of the 1996 election, even if it meant paralyzing the government.
That same danger exists once again for the GOP.