A Reminder

At the end of a column in which she discusses the parallels between the Scandal Politics of the Clinton Era with what is rapidly becoming the Scandal Politics of the Obama Era, National Journal‘s Jill Lawrence issues this simple reminder:

Shortly after the September 1998 release of the Starr report (with its graphic sexual references and 11 proposed articles of impeachment), and before they went on to impeach and try Clinton, Republicans contradicted historical patterns by losing House seats. The public, it turned out, was tired of scandal, investigations, and conflict. Obama can only hope the same dynamic plays out in 2014.

I don’t get the sense, though Lawrence quotes a few, that too many Republicans are thinking there’s a downside to going scandal-crazy. If anything, going into a “base-dominated” midterm election with a party that refuses to get anything done in Congress requiring compromise and that isn’t real flush with policy ideas, Republicans are going to be sorely tempted not to talk about anything but scandals (and perhaps Obamacare, which they are already treating as a “scandal” in itself) for the next year-and-a-half.

So for Democrats: the bad news is that today’s “stories” could persist with mind-numbing repetition until you are about the bleed from your eyes and ears. The good news is that if you make at least a minimum effort to create some other stories that involve real life, you may not have much competition.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.