Lanny Davis: IRS Scandal “Will Make it Almost Impossible to Elect a Democratic President”


Lanny Davis, the former Clinton aide — no stranger to scandals he — thinks that the recent surge in bad news for Democrats could have implications for 2016. Here’s what he told Andrea Tantaros on her radio show, according to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard:

The growing IRS-Tea Party scandal, which has robbed Democrats of the so-called “trust edge” they held over Republicans, is now jeopardizing the Democratic majority in the Senate and even hopes that Hillary Clinton will replace President Obama in 2016.

“This hurts the Democratic Party and will hurt anybody who runs for president in 2016,” said former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis, a major supporter of Hillary Clinton. Speaking on national radio’s Andrea Tantaros Show, he added: “It will make it almost impossible to elect a [Democratic] president. … I’m nervous.”

Meanwhile, several Democratic and GOP political advisers told [us] that the combined scandals — IRS, Benghazi and the media source hunt — threatens the Democrats’ grip on the Senate. House advisers are even predicting that Republicans will pick up nearly 10 seats if the scandals continue to eat away at trust in the Democratic Party.

What do you think? We’re three and a half years away from the next presidential election. Could the current controversies be significant enough to still have resonance come November 2016? Will they even hold sway come the midterms? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive

    Darn the luck !

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member

    The voting population’s memory is short, viz. Mark Sanford’s win and Anthony Weiner’s eternal hope – just to mention the two most recent examples.  The Dems will win because of more desire for power, better communications skills and willingness to do/say anything to win.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Coolidge

    I thought for sure Obama’s first term had done the same thing…but I was dead wrong.  So I’m not getting my hopes up.  I’m getting them down.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Thatcher

    It depends on whether we can keep this going.  At present the White House is helping by keeping this dribbling.  Not only does it keep the noise of Democrat corruption in the media, but keeps the motivation of our side up.

    It is highly likely that these 5 scandals — Ben Ghazi, IRS, AP, Fox and HHS – will have a substantial positive effect in 2014, as low-information voters tend not to vote in off-year elections.  At the current pace, this could be true for 2016.  We’ll see.  The key is don’t hurry the investigations.  Keep the pressure on, but be ponderous.  This will also distract the Obama Administration from doing more mischief. 

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Thatcher


    We’ll see.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive

    I don’t know. I just couldn’t believe that after the first four years, anyone would elect Obama – and I was seriously wrong. I was sitting next to Dick Morris on Prediction Row.

    Let me answer the question this way: it should.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive

    That’s too bad – I was looking forward to President Weiner’s tweets from the Oval Office.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Thatcher

    2014 mid-term elections are more than a year away. That’s a long time in election terms.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive

    Prosecutions.  Nothing else matters much for the democrat.  I’ve been talking with some and the base still believes the media lies.  Amazing.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive

    As with Watergate in 1973-74 these scandals will drag out for quite awhile, especially if the administration continues to stonewall.  Combined with the full effects of Obamacare when it kicks in next year the table will be well set for a Republican take away in 2014.  What do you suppose will be Harry Reid’s attitude toward a lame-duck, scandal ridden Obama if he loses control of the Senate?  Reid is an opportunist, no ideologue he.  The perfect man to deliver the news about a cancer on the presidency.      

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    Frozen Chosen: It might hurt the Dems if the nitwit 51% who vote Democrat paid any attention to this stuff.

    Let’s face it, half the people who voted for Obama think the IRS did a good thing in suppressing conservative groups and the other half have no idea that this even happened. · 7 hours ago

    And the third half says “Everyone does it – the Republicans too.”

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Thatcher

    I’m a pessimist at heart. I just have no confidence this is making as much an effect as we’d like to believe.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member

    The masses, the “low information” voter will want their free stuff no matter what. They don’t care, know or understand these scandals. Maybe a few “independents” will either stay home or pull the Republican lever, but long shot.  The dems will still vote on the policies versus the individual crooks who work at IRS.  Just don’t see any impact.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Coolidge

    I’m not buy it. Something will happen .. “Squirrel” .. and the media will change the focus. Soon it will all be a fading memory .. zzzZZZZZzzzz.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive

    It depends, if there is a link to the whitehouse, it will have long term damage, if not then it will be a non factor.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Inactive


    My English teacher is wildly liberal.  She made us do a group project of creating artwork about some social issue.  My group chose the IRS scandal, which necessitated an explanation of what it actually was during the presentation.  After the usual questions about the artwork, she turned to me (I’m the political geek in the class) and said: “Now I have some questions about the issue”, at which point she racked her brain to dredge up every liberal excuse for it – deluge of applications, Shulman was a Bush appointee, etc.  She basically pulled out everything possible that was not blatantly ludicrous to try to downplay it.  I was able to refute them all fairly easily (and quite enjoyed doing it), but I wonder how many share her view.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive

    Not much consolation, but it’s good to know Democratic consultants are every bit as sleazy as Republican consultants.

    They all know why someone did or didn’t win and they all know what will hurt or help in the next election.

    This wont change anything. Progresses have corrupted more than a critical mass of schools and media.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive

    As far as the political implications – I want it to have effects, but I think they’ll be fairly small unless Obama himself is implicated.  I do think it might help turnout on the right, and the IRS scandal might become a huge issue if it gets tied in with an Obamacare implementation train wreck.  I’m encouraged by Davis’ view, but electorally pessimistic after 2012.  It might actually help some Democrats if they manage to get in the front of this.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive

    Much may depend on whether the Republican party actually does anything with these scandals, including whether anybody actually loses their job and/or is sent to prison. So far it’s all been talk, talk, talk, talk (Issa and others seem to be doing a good job of pressing, but it remains to be seen if they will press through to firings and convictions). If they fail to bear down, the base may fail to turn out again.

    It also depends on whether Republican candidates are 

    • ready to fight
    • ready to refuse the premise of questions and turn onto their opponents (e.g. “I am in favor of laws that would prevent another Gosnell, are you?”)

    Personally I’m not holding my breath although I am doing my best to hope for the best.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive

    I think that as long as the media act as the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party (which will be until the republic’s demise unless we do something about it), the low-information voter will buy whatever the media sells.  And they’ll sell the Democrat Party.

    And if Marco Rubio gets what he thinks he wants, even the media won’t matter anymore.  (Would someone please ask him, regarding all his assurances about taxes they’ll pay and fees they’ll pay and voting they won’t be allowed to do and healthcare they won’t be allowed to have under his plan for amnesty, what happens if a SCOTUS strikes down those restrictions?  Do all the illegal legals become illegal again?  Or did he really just fall off the turnip truck?)

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    Ontos: “Basil Fawlty

     If our side lets her make a mistake , especially with all the vile things she has done at the IRS and that to the Christian Coalition when she was the lawyer at the FEC, I say, Jolly Good Show.  There is certainly nothing unfair with what happened.    · 8 hours ago

    Sentence first — verdict afterwards?  I thought we had a problem with folks playing fast and loose with people’s Constitutional rights.  Letting her make a mistake and setting her up to make one by asking her to simply authenticate a document are on different levels.  In my opinion, doing the latter made Issa look a tad sleazy during what was otherwise an exemplary performance.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Inactive

    Dan, good for you!

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Listener

    @NoCaesar: Issa seems to get it. Allowing Lerner to make her speech — then plead the 5th — then letting her go with an option to recall when events ripen (immunity, anyone) was wise. Also, I wonder if he and Gowdy had that little game ready. Issa could say “Whoa, Junior, let’s put away the hangin’ rope…for now.”

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive

    I have no more interest in the Republicans controlling both houses of Congress than I do in the Democrats.  They still do not have my trust.  Let Congress be divided.  Let gridlock be the perpetual state of government.  We could use a good Republican President, though.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Member

    The amnesty bill’s fate will mean much more than these scandals in deciding the 2016 election. My guess is the current scandals will have little to no impact.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member

    @Fricosis Guy:  It struck me that Issa was too clever by half.  Offering a witness the opportunity to make an opening statement and routinely identify a document and then arguing that, by so doing, she waived her 5th amendment rights may have been legally correct, but it made me uncomfortable.  Although, to be fair to Issa, she did have her attorney present, for what that was worth.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member

    I can’t argue with the pessimists here, they have too much history going for them. However the IRS scandal has an ideological resonance that Democrats seem to understand better than Republicans. If high levels in the WH instigated this it’s bad;  if this was simply a culture of partisanship within a powerful government agency – it’s worse. This vindicates the conservative position(s) and Dems can’t argue government is a positive force any time soon (see Lanny Davis).

    Lets also look at the dynamics. Obama is a lame duck. If the heat continues on these scandals there will be Democrats who want to get out from under and turn on the administration. The press is finally somewhat antagonistic and skeptical and they need to recover some of their lost credibility.

    Let’s not forget, these are real scandals. There is no way they can be spun or dismissed as partisan ‘gotcha’ witch hunts. 

    If the Dems suffer loses in 2014, there will be more dissention  in the Democratic party.

    The key here is to track down the leads. Obama should not be the target. Dems at some point may actually prefer that for their own salvation.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member

    Facts don’t convince lefties.  The scales must fall from a lefty’s eyes by themselves; they cannot be pried off.  

    Independents, however, often vote on feelings rather than ideology or policies.  They can be motivated by disgust, just as they can be motivated by “hope and change” optimism.  You don’t have to change very many minds to make an electoral difference – especially when it comes to Red State Democratic Senators.

    We are fortunate that Obama is stonewalling, which gives the impression of guilt and keeps the scandal alive.  If Obama ordered  every member of his administration to cooperate fully with Congress, and publicly stated that anyone taking the Fifth would be fired, he might get past this.  But if Obama is going to continue to make  speeches that say:

    I’m angry about this.  Look at me – see? – this is my angry face!

    then Mr. Davis may well be right.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive

    Agree on the amnesty bill fate (what in the world is Rubio smoking?!) and what that will do for a new voting bloc & I have an inkling that some Dems think the deluge of scandals will be over with and forgotten by 2014?

    Anyway, I’m more cynical than ever, so let’s hope that this will actually stick to the voters’ conscience, but I wouldn’t count on it. 

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive

    I think the population is far gone enough that not only is 2016 safe for Democrats, 2014 might be too.

    • #30
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