The Fight Fox Wanted

From “Fast and Furious:  How President Obama and John Boehner got to the brink,” Josh Gerstein and Jake Sherman, Politico:

“For Obama, the political costs of the executive privilege showdown are obvious:  In an election year, there’s little upside to him being tied more closely to a failed gun-smuggling investigation that may have led to the death of at least one U. S. law enforcement agent and hundreds of killings in Mexico.  The executive privilege claim also undercuts his promises to run the most transparent administration in history and could open him to claims of hypocrisy and coverup.

“For Boehner, an unprecedented floor vote to hold an attorney general in contempt threatens to undermine the GOP’s promise to keep a laserlike focus on the economy and Republicans’ determined effort to hammer away at what they view as Obama’s inability to fix the country’s economic ills.  Headlines about the investigations could remind some voters of the 1990’s, when a flurry of probes the Republicans launched of the Clinton administration boomeranged on congressional inquisitors.

“Boehner, Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy also began to feel extraordinary pressure from their membership, chiefly Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who both serve on the Judiciary Committee and Issa’s panel.  There were also more than 100 members who signed onto a resolution expressing no confidence in Holder.

‘White House officials insist there’s nothing in the records that would do any real damage, beyond perhaps revealing some emails with intemperate language about Issa’s investigation.

Some administration officials believe that Issa and Boehner were essentially forced into the contempt vote because intense coverage of the probe on Fox News and by conservative online news outlets fed expectations in the Republican base that heads would roll and a smoking-gun memo would surface.

“‘They’ve created their own problem because they made so many outrageous statements and created expectations that something big is going to happen,’ said Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman involved in the initial response to Congress.   ‘The Republican leadership in the House has known for a long time that this is a fight they didn’t want to have but were going to be force by their base to have.'”  Emphasis added.

I really believe this is going to bite the GOP in Congress, and by extension Romney, on the tush and not hurt Obama.

Serves Them Right

The NYT confirms* what I had suspected, that GOP leaders in Congress and Mitt’s campaign really didn’t want this Fast and Furious thing to blow up so big that it’s drowning out their message (such as it is) on the economy and jobs.

The Times says GOP leaders “adopted a go-slow approach,” but “they were powerless to prevent the blowup, pressed by a handful of Republican lawmakers [Darrell Issa, Jason Chaffetz, and Trey Gowdy] who have driven the issue and a conservative base that has followed it closely.”

I hope this teaches the sane people left in the GOP (Hello?  Anybody there?) a lesson.  Once the inmates have taken over the asylum, good luck getting back the keys.

I bet John of Orange would rather have a smoke with Obama than meet with some of his nut cases.

* “Partisan Confrontation That Not All Wanted,” Jonathan Weisman