What Difference Does It Make?

steve miller

One of the common threads in the various White House scandals in the news lately has been the efforts made to keep them secret until after last year’s election. This has led many people to ask an obvious question.

What If the Obama Scandals Had Surfaced Last Fall?

I was on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last night, talking about the Benghazi talking point emails. Near the end of the segment, Hugh asked whether I thought the presidential election might have turned out differently if Obama and Clinton had not succeeded in covering up the truth about Benghazi. I was skeptical. The story of the election, I said, was the Obama campaign’s ability to turn out, once again, a large majority of the low-information voters who swept Obama into office in 2008. Few of those low-information voters, I said, would either have understood, or cared about, Benghazi, even if all the facts had been available.

Which is true, I think, as far as it goes. But what if all of the current Obama scandals had broken last fall? What if voters not only knew the truth about Benghazi–that four Americans were killed by al Qaeda because the Obama administration ignored repeated warnings from the CIA, refused the ambassador’s pleas for better security, and failed even to try to rescue them once they came under attack–but also knew that the IRS had been commissioned to harass the administration’s political opponents? And what if, in addition, reporters knew about DOJ’s surveillance of the Associated Press?

We know that the administration fought feverishly to prevent the truth about Benghazi from coming out until after the election. That is what the notorious talking points, Susan Rice’s tour of the TV news shows, and Obama’s and Clinton’s endless references to the phantom video were all about. We also know that the IRS’s improper activities were well known at the upper reaches of the IRS as well as the Treasury Department–and, it is fair to assume, at the White House–well before the election. Yet numerous officials conspired to keep the scandal quiet until the election was safely past, and at least one IRS employee seems rather clearly to have committed perjury to keep the scandal from coming to the attention of voters. As for the AP surveillance, I still don’t understand the legal context of the incident, and I doubt that many voters would have been swayed by the apparently legal, but unprecedented, surveillance of reporters. But what if reporters had been angry enough over the administration’s double-cross (as they might reasonably see it) that their coverage of the campaign’s closing weeks had been less slavishly pro-Obama? Might these factors, together, have made a difference?

I still don’t think the result would have been different. To an extraordinary degree, the 2012 electorate seemed uninterested in the Obama administration’s failures. If voters didn’t care about the economy or about $16 trillion in debt, why would they have cared about Benghazi or the IRS? But the cumulative effect of multiple, mutually reinforcing scandals is hard to predict. It is easy to understand why, last fall, the Obama administration didn’t want to take any chances. They went into full cover-up mode, and carried off their multiple cover-ups successfully. Without doubt, that effort helped to bring about the president’s re-election.

The analogy to 1972 is obvious. Richard Nixon managed to keep the lid on Watergate long enough to enjoy one of the most sweeping electoral victories in American history. After the election, however, his cover-up unraveled; it consumed, and eventually destroyed, his second term. Whether the same will happen to Obama remains to be seen, but already it is clear that scandal will be a major part of the Obama legacy.

If Mitt Romney was a criminal defendant there would be ample evidence to justify granting him a new trial. If a prosecutor had intentionally withheld that evidence a reversal would be a slam dunk. The rules are a little different in civil court but concealing evidence is a big no-no there too.

But winning a new trial doesn’t mean you’ll win that trial. The standard of proof is whether a reasonable juror might have decided differently after hearing the new evidence. Unfortunately we will never know for sure. On the other hand it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Last year’s election came down to four key states. It would have taken relatively few votes to change the outcome. But some voters would not have voted differently even if Obama was caught burning an American flag. If the media had turned against Obama or at least taken a neutral stance on the election that probably would have changed the outcome. But so far these scandals haven’t significantly affected Obama’s approval ratings.

There are no do-overs in presidential elections. The Constitution does not provide for a remedy for a stolen election other than impeachment. Assuming that Obama was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, all that would do is put Joe Biden in the Oval Office. Mitt Romney would still be screwed.

So would we.

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73 Responses to What Difference Does It Make?

  1. Lulu says:

    Well the difference is that Broncobama has managed to corrupt the essential function of government. Not only does he corrupt and rig elections, he has managed to screw up the one thing that government has to have to function-revenue, taxes, MONEY collected fairly and impartially. I think Peggy Noonan is an idiot, but even she gets it.

    “What happened at the IRS is the government’s essential business. The IRS case deserves and calls out for an independent counsel, fully armed with all that position’s powers. Only then will stables that badly need to be cleaned, be cleaned. Everyone involved in this abuse of power should pay a price, because if they don’t, the politicization of the IRS will continue—forever. If it is not stopped now, it will never stop. And if it isn’t stopped, no one will ever respect or have even minimal faith in the revenue-gathering arm of the U.S. government again.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323582904578487460479247792.html

    She is saying that it will be open season for cheaters. How can they claim that it is immoral to cheat and lie since the government does it with impunity? They can’t and this is what is scaring the crap out of them.

    • votermom says:

      I heard a caller on the Hannity radio show yesterday. She works for the IRS (low-level employee). She said (and sounded) that a lot of her & fellow peons are furious at Miller and at waht is going on.
      She also said that there is a lot of obot campaign paraphernalia at the IRS offices despite the Hatch act.

  2. elliesmom says:

    If Obama is successfully impeached or forced to resign, I expect the predictions there would be rioting in the streets to be correct. People who “riot in the streets” tend to do it in their own neighborhood so most of us wouldn’t be affected first hand, but even so there are people living in those neighborhoods who don’t deserve to be put through that terror, and terrorism is just what it is. What I hope will happen is the press will begin doing its job again so we can have a more open and fair election in 2016, and the scandals will effectively neuter Obama until then . I hope the IRS scandal will provide the Republicans the fuel to burn ObamaCare with public support after the 2014 elections. The optics of removing the first African-American president from office aren’t worth it if the only result is President Biden. Let’s just cut him down to size and hobble him.

    • Lulu says:

      He won’t be impeached. He will be made useless or should I say more useless. When your own staff is telling the press that everyone who works there is an idiot it is all over but the stampede for the exits. Bloomberg News et al are still trying to muddy the water for the IRS and Ms Ingram the $bonus$ collector. The problem is she gave some rather high handed speeches and was the recipient of scathing letters from the AHA lawyers accusing her of making up her own tax law (this is now scrubbed from the intertubes). Remember the Obamacare unit of the IRS made up their own rules to include non participating states in exchanges for inclusion of tax penalties for employers in clear violation of the Supreme Court ruling. IRS, politics, Obamacare are all intertwined with Democratic (not just Obama) fingerprints everywhere. It is like peeling a rotten onion.

      • 1539days says:

        The Obama administration is effectively over, like the way Bush was neutered after Katrina. For the next three years, we have to worry about what graft his White House will engage in behind the scenes. Personally, I think the Republicans should shake the tree loose. Start going down and demand the firing of low-level employees. Once these cogs in the machine lose their livelihood, they will be more likely to sell out their superiors. Treat them like an organized crime family.

    • yttik says:

      I don’t really care about impeachment or who winds up in charge, I want to see some reforms, specifically reining in government power, spending, and taxes. I want to see the people of this country wake up from their nap and put their foot down.

      The IRS scandal just might do it. It’s one part of government nearly everyone fears and nobody is very fond of.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Obama is pretty much telling his donors and supporters that he needs both the House and Senate to “get stuff done”, otherwise his hands are tied with the “do nothing” Congress. Now I feel he could care less and should he lose both houses, he’ll have something to blame for the last two years of no leadership.

      It’s how Barry rolls.

      • elliesmom says:

        But if he loses his “messiah halo” with the general public and the vile progs are neutered along with him, few will care who he “blames” for his impotence. They’ll all just want him gone, too. When he blames the Republicans for his lack of leadership, the response needs to be “So what?” No arguing that’s he’s wrong. Just complete boredom. Because without help from the fawning press and the vile progs to pump his image, Obama is boring. Just another kid from a dysfunctional family with an axe to grind.

  3. votermom says:

    I’m still flabbergasted at this implication – did the CIA/State lie on intelligence briefs so that Romney would not get real info during the campaign?
    Remember Romney started getting daily intelligence briefings on 9/17.
    I don’t care that it might have changed the election cycle; but at the thought that the professional people (not the politicians) supposed to be minding our national security are not to be trusted.

    • Lulu says:

      I am probably wrong, but a lot of them are terrorized of what the Obama thugs will do to them. Career end, retirement gone, financial ruination, no way to find other employment in horrible economy. Look what they did to Hicks (demoted) and the Obot hordes tried to ruin his reputation on top of it all. The good Germans who co-operate get plum assignments and big bonus awards. Go along to get along and kiss ass is a career path and the way it is done in Chicago.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I remember them withholding MR’s briefs for a very long time and he finally started getting them when he made some noise about it. When he started attacking Obama on Benghanzi, the Dems were outraged that MR was using the deaths as political fodder. Now we know MR was right along.

  4. votermom says:

    #RememberWhenBarackObama gam eis number 1 trend today.

  5. yttik says:

    “If Mitt Romney was a criminal defendant there would be ample evidence to justify granting him a new trial…”

    Elections however, are not like trials. It’s more like all’s fair in love and war, or complete campaign anarchy. A couple of rulings in my state regarding some local elections really took my breath away. Apparently it is quite legal to flat out lie about your opponent, to fabricate false information about them. Unethical as all hell, but perfectly legal.

    I disagree about how Mitt Romney got screwed. WE got screwed, but Romney won the flippin lottery. If he had been elected he’d be mired in the muck this administration left behind. All these scandals would be his problem, his responsibility. He’d look 20 years older, and “winning” the election would not feel like much of a win. It would be an incredibly difficult job with few rewards and little gratitude from the people.

  6. votermom says:

    • Lulu says:

      If the witnesses keep that up next week I hope someone asks them if they have a medical problem that interferes with brain function. Any head trauma, medications, psychological impairments, learning disabilities that limit their ability to remember what they had for breakfast. If not and there are no medical records indicating real reasons for their amnesia, they will just have to assume they are lying.

    • 1539days says:

      If the IRS is that bad at “customer service” I think it’s time the Congress start disbanding the separate police force and court system the IRS uses. If they want to torture people over taxes, they should have to do it where the taxpayer is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    Just heard (fox) that one of the non-profits approved during the targeted tea party era had Barack Obama part of the name and only a p.o. box and telephone # …. nothing else. Tucker Carlson called the number and went directly to voicemail that mispronounced BO’s name. (foreign?) Money laundering for Obama? Heh. Well, we always suspected much of his billion dollar fundraising had to be from foreign sources.

    I hope some non-partisan feds are combing through these things now.

    • Lulu says:

      I wonder if that was the one formed by his half-brother. It was approved in like three weeks and made retroactive for three years. LOL. Noooo! They weren’t playing favorites. Not the IRS. Lol.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Redstate gives a good argument to bring in a special prosecuter for the IRS. Yummy graphs too 😀


    • Lulu says:

      They are so amoral, so totally lacking in ethics, they do not see a problem. Or they do and are big fat liars.

      • fif says:

        And then there’s this, which frightens me more: “But so far these scandals haven’t significantly affected Obama’s approval ratings.”

        It’s one thing if they are liars and thieves, but that a large percentage of people refuse to see it and/or care is much scarier. Mass fantasy/denial is a dangerous thing. That’s how he got elected in the first place.

        • DeniseVB says:

          I think these polls are oversampling Obots, they have to be. Can’t afford low poll numbers due to fundraising 😉

        • Lulu says:

          This may be the gathering of opinion before the preference cascade. Obots I know are not talking about it but everyone else is.

        • 1539days says:

          Obama’s approval is around 47%, which is down 9 points since December. If the media can bury these stories in the next two weeks, they’ll wait until it goes back to 50%, then make a big deal about how the scandal isn’t affecting his approval.

          These scandals need to continue for at least a month before the general public knows what’s going on. It’s a race to see how much heat the hearings can generate and how willing the media is to lose more money and not cover the biggest political story since Watergate.

        • I agree with Lulu. Let’s see what the numbers mid to end of this upcoming week look like. I have a lot of FB friends from all across the political spectrum, including plenty of strong obama supporters (even a few bots). Their complete radio silence is deafening.

  9. I think it would have changed the election. His turn out depended upon a slice of fringe voters, and they would not have been enough to carry him over the finish line had another slice of middle, moderate voters abandoned him for Romney or stayed home.

  10. 1539days says:

    I watched about 30 seconds of Melissa Harris Perry this morning. So, MSNBC is pushing the “Mitch McConnell” narrative. This is where McConnell, the minority leader in the Senate, was the bane of Obama’s existence because his goal was to stop the president’s agenda.

    Yet the Republicans have not had a majority in the Senate since 2006 and even lost the ability to filibuster for much of 2009. During the first two years of the administration, the Democrats were able to pass $ 2 trillion in new spending (Stimulus and Obamacare) on top of the $4 trillion per year already in the budget. That money goes almost exclusively to groups that favor Democratic policies.

    Obama isn’t just about blaming Bush. Since the beginning, he’s created a siege mentality where everyone not only opposes him but is out to get him. This makes already low-information Obama voters predisposed to defend him because everyone likes an underdog.

    • Lulu says:

      Stopping this president’s agenda is a winner for the Republicans. They have been pushing this for a long while. They were and are right to do it. The Progs are pushing a losing narrative because the Republicans have been proven right already. As for the underdog angle, some people back them but most back winners. Obama was considered a underdog AND a winner but that has stopped. Anyone who abuses government like he has is not an underdog but a dominant tyrant. The Progs are hitting cognitive dissonance with their excuses for his abuse of office.

  11. HELENK says:


    I learned a new word today UPWORTHY. you will be hearing it a lot.
    It will appeal to low information voters

    • 1539days says:

      Fauxcahontas is comparing the overnight lending rate, that most banks consider to punitive to even use, to the 30 year loan term of the average Obama voter who will not be able to pay off a student loan until retirement.

      Here’s the irony. Tuition rates have gone up 1200% in the last 35 years. Warren, who was a Harvard professor, was the beneficiary of massively increased tuition. John Stossel has pointed out many times that the competition for what are essentially unlimited tuition dollars has led to massive spending on upgraded facilities and dorms.

      Here’s an idea. What if we keep the student loan system, but run it like Medicare? The Direct Loan system tells colleges that they will issue a loan to a student for $10,000 per year, including tuition, room and board. The college can charge a private student whatever they want, but someone using student loans can only be charged $10,000 and cannot be given any additional charges.

      Colleges would either take the discounted tuition or face most students going to a community college. The more expensive private schools would then have to justify the expense to those paying the full fare. I bet college would get really affordable really fast.

  12. swanspirit says:

    BTW I really liked the characterization of Stephen T. Miller over at Ace’s place

    Rep. Mike Kelly Rips Into Man Wearing Dead Poodle on His Head

    All Miller really needs is his shirt open , chest hair showing (ewwwww) and a big gold chain and pendant , to be “that guy ” , and I bet he dresses that way when he goes clubbing in D.C. he already has that ” I am in love with myself ” attitude .

  13. HELENK says:

    since today is armed forces day, I want to thank all who served and their families who also waited and served

  14. Lulu says:

    “Transcribed interviews conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are set to begin Monday, May 20th for five IRS employees.

    …”The Clear Lake Tea Party received a questionnaire in July of 2010 from Cincinnati based IRS worker Liz Hofacre.”

    This started before the mid-term elections in 2010.

  15. swanspirit says:

    I am developing a serious crush on Trey Gowdy

    GOP Rep. Gowdy: Nancy Pelosi ‘mind-numbingly stupid,’ recommends doctor visit
    GOP Rep. Gowdy: Nancy Pelosi ‘mind-numbingly stupid,’ recommends doctor visit
    On Thursday, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) lashed out at Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), calling her recent comments regarding Fast and Furious “mind-numbingly stupid,” and suggested she “schedule an appointment” with a doctor.
    On Thursday, Pelosi claimed that the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder was part of a grand conspiracy to undermine his fight against voter suppression.
    “This is no accident. It is no coincidence. It is a plan on the part of the Republicans,” Pelosi said.
    “It’s really beneath the office of a member of Congress to saysomething that outrageous, and the fact that she was once the speaker is mind-numbing,” Rep. Gowdy told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren.


  16. HELENK says:

    way way off topic


    is mining under the sea in the future?? lots of minerals down there. will the sea and the fish survive?

    • Propertius says:

      “All involved”?

      Starting with Obama and Geithner?

      • Mary says:

        And the Dem senators and representatives who wrote letters to the IRS pushing for investigating tea party apps for 501c?

    • SHV says:

      They are unlikely to fire any union/civil service people because that would lead to appeals and likely exposure of who ordered the targeting.

      • 1539days says:

        If that’s the case, Congress needs to cut their funding because “low level” employees have too much time on their hands

      • Lulu says:

        Someone usually cracks. The grunts (and union members) aren’t the ones being questioned yet. The middle managers who are given the orders are the lowest rung being questioned it sounds like on Monday. They are being questioned in private with the hope that they will either turn on them or inadvertently let slip. I would question each one separately so they don’t know exactly what the other ones say. They may turn on the IRS lawyers who run it from DC. It is very hard for technical staff to stand up to agency lawyers who are telling everyone that everything is legal. And after seeing Miller you can only imagine what a arrogant dick he is. Imagine an agency full of that. Yech.

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