As we've detailed over the past several weeks, public polling on repeal is brutal—in the 20s in most polling—and while the law isn't beloved by any stretch, support is on the upswing. So it's no surprise that Republicans are less and less willing to talk repeal. It's just not an electoral winner. We've also seen Republicans start trying to make Harry Reid an issue, but that one is doomed from the start.
So having bet 2014 on Obamacare, Republicans are clearly flailing as they search for an alternative. But is Benghazi really it? Do they really think the American people are going to buy their conspiracy theories, especially since they're based on such flimsy premises as "a talking point was edited?" You think this kind of talk wins broad support? It fails the laugh test.
I suspect this is a 2014 ploy, but not one designed to win over the American people. It's one designed to appease the party's core base—both at the grassroots level and in the House.
There's been lots of talk of leadership coups in the House, as the House Speaker John Boehner's teabagger members get frustrated at the insufficient (to them) amount of crazy. And believe it or not (and you probably do if you read my Saturday nutpicks), that frustration is reflected in the party's broader teabagger base.
That frustration has only increased lately as they sense their party backing away from Obamacare repeal, not to mention anger at his (half-hearted) efforts to pass some sort of immigration reform package. Democrats have a built-in voter intensity problem as a result of the youth and socio-economic status of our base. Republicans don't have such a problem unless that base starts feeling abandoned. And right now, there is grousing to that effect among that base.
Note that no such intensity problem on the Right has actually shown up in any polling. The grousing comes from the hard-core base. But that is clearly enough to worry the Republican leadership. Hence, why not talk about the hard Right's biggest obsession? #BENGHAZI!
By conducting Benghazi kabuki, Republicans deflect some of that base frustration, while giving Boehner some breathing room. It's a win-win! Well, it's a win-win if you live inside the Fox News bubble of death. For anyone else watching, they just see an even crazier GOP. And when your numbers are already this woeful...
... perhaps "crazy" isn't what you should communicate.