After a wild week, political news settles down into a dull roar, amidst shifting assessments of Scandalmania “behind the headlines.”
1. The first day of the House Ways & Means Committee hearing on IRS scrutiny of tax-exempt applicants indicates Republicans will expand scope to examine other instances of alleged IRS “politicization,” particularly if they can’t find evidence White House involved in “targeting” decisions. Get out your fishing poles.
2. A semi-public tussle between House GOP backbenchers and leadership seems to be breaking out over how to handle scandal investigations, as the latter fret about “overreaching” and the 1998 precedent while the former react to pressure from “the base.”
3. Polling from Gallup indicates “below-average” public interest in the Benghazi and IRS “scandals.” Interestingly enough, the two subjects register about the same interest levels, even though the Benghazi “scandal” has been in the news off-and-on for eight months and the IRS “scandal” is brand new and ill-defined.
4. In non-scandal news, the House “Gang of Eight” announces “agreement in principle” on immigration reform, just a day after rumors of a deadlock spread. It appears, however, the agreement has several major holes where competing provisions will be voted on in committee, particularly as related to health coverage of newly legalized immigrants, and the size of the proposed “guest worker” program. All in all, it looks like an effort to “move the process along” rather than a breakthrough.