The "greatest scandal since Watergate" is turning out to be a big snooze as far as Americans are concerned. A Gallup poll released Thursday revealed that Americans are paying little attention to "Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!" or the IRS inquiries of the Tea Party Idiots:
The amount of attention Americans are paying to the IRS and the Benghazi situations is well below the average for news stories Gallup has tracked over the years. This overall lack of attention is due in part to Democrats' and, to a lesser degree, independents' lack of interest, which stands in sharp contrast to the significantly above-average attention among Republicans.Of course, Republicans addicted to Fox News are convinced these are the stories of the century, since they have no reference point for anything else:
Republicans are much more likely to say they are following these news stories closely than are independents or in particular Democrats. There is a 21-percentage-point gap between Republicans and Democrats in terms of following the Benghazi story closely, and a 27-point gap on the IRS story.In today's New York Times, Charles Blow puts forth his theories as to why the comparative lack of interest. He believes one basic reason is that the GOP simply has little credibility among the public at large, having wasted it in on four years of hysterical Obama-bashing whose end result was the first re-election of a Democratic President by majority popular vote in several decades. Another reason is that Republicans' feelings towards the IRS, for example, are already well-known and hardly surprise anyone. Blow might have added that having endured decades of gaping tax loopholes for the uber-wealthies of Romneyville, the public's feelings toward the agency might actually reflect the fact that not enough taxes are being collected.
With respect to Benghazi-Gate, Blow rightly points out that most Americans couldn't put Benghazi on a map. And they can't understand why calling the attacks on the US embassy an "act of terror" instead of a "terrorist act" should generate millions of wasted tax dollars in Congressional investigations.
The reality is that Americans would have forgotten the Benghazi attack within days, if not hours, had the GOP not made an "issue" out of it. Americans aren't convinced there is an issue there to begin with, so the GOP's flailing to create one just doesn't resonate. Put bluntly, they agree with Hillary Clinton that the entire witch-hunt is pathetic.
As far as the IRS story is concerned, Blow points out the uncomfortable (for Republicans) fact that the vast majority of Americans don't like the "Tea Party" to begin with. Perhaps that's because what the Tea Party has produced in terms of political candidates are mostly abhorrent women-haters or out-and-out nut cases. Either way, the majority of Americans aren't particularly sympathetic. It's hard to be sympathetic with know-nothing assholes, particularly when their funding comes from noxious billionaires:
So an unpopular movement applied for tax-exempt status under conditions made possible by an unpopular court decision, in order to influence politics with unfathomable amounts money from unnamed donors? Good luck gaining sympathy for that.Blow also notes that the Tea Party's spokesperson's reaction to the IRS story doesn't exactly help their cause:
The Congressional Tea Party Caucus founder, Michele Bachmann, who never misses a chance to say something asinine, suggested to the conservative site wnd.com that it was “reasonable” to worry that the I.R.S. might use Obamacare to kill conservatives.The bottom line, though, appears to be that the GOP shot its credibility in the foot long ago, and the chickens have simply come home to roost. The combination of Fox News, the demonization of all things Obama and their own lack of any accomplishments whatsoever have simply prompted Americans to tune them out:
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“Reasonable” and “Bachmann” don’t even belong in the same conversation, let alone the same sentence, and yet she remains one of the most visible spokeswomen for the movement.
Republicans are their own worst enemies at times like these, unable to leave well-enough alone, and missing chances to honestly engage the public as they race off the cliff in the supercharged outrage machine.