Why the GOP thinks it could blow itFirst of all, note that the underlying assumption here is that Republicans are on the cusp of some sort of major victory thanks to Benghazi, IRS, and AP—as long as they don't screw it up. The reality, however, is that it's May of 2013, the next election isn't for 18 months, and none of these are turning out to be nearly as big as Republicans may have hoped.
Republicans are worried one thing could screw up the political gift of three Obama administration controversies at once: fellow Republicans.
Top GOP leaders are privately warning members to put a sock in it when it comes to silly calls for impeachment or over-the-top comparisons to Watergate. They want members to focus on months of fact-finding investigations — not rhetorical fury.
The only thing new about Benghazi is that Republicans made up some emails to push their coverup narrative. Unless the IRS probe turns up something to link it to the White House (which does not appear likely), it's going to turn out to be a nothingburger. And while the AP phone records subpoena is a big deal, it's something that Republicans really don't care that much about anyway.
The point is, I'm not convinced that there is anything there for Republicans to blow. But let's assume for the sake of argument that VandeHei and Allen are right, and that there is something to blow. Here's their prime piece of evidence (my emphasis):
“We have to be persistent but patient,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told us. “I think where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If we present ourselves to the American people as intelligent, we’re going to be in a great place as far as showing that this administration is not transparent, is obsessed with power and hates dissent. But you don’t call for impeachment until you have evidence.”Uh, those aren't the words of a guy whose worried about the GOP going too far—those are the words of a guy who wants the GOP to take their time before they impeach the president. Reince didn't say "you don't call for impeachment unless you have evidence" he said "until you have evidence."
Reince was counseling patience, not skepticism. He didn't express the slightest hint of a doubt that the evidence exists for impeachment—he just said Republicans need to wait until they get it. But he made it clear that he thinks the evidence is out there to be gotten. In his words: "Where there's smoke, there's fire." The GOP debate isn't about whether to impeach Obama: It's about when to do it—and for what reason.