GOP ‘overplays its hand’ on IRS scandal, NBC pre-reports

For an idea about how the mainstream media will try to clean up a bad week for the Obama administration, a good place to start is a First Read blog written by the NBC political team of Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro.

Their blog post Thursday leads with an item on “Trying to stop the bleeding,” that outlines steps the White House is taking to deal with the Benghazi/IRS/AP scandals. The three then presciently ask of the GOP, “Do they overplay their hand when it comes to the IRS?”

The answer is “yes,” of course they do.

As Todd himself said on “Today”:

“There is. I mean, that’s what happened to Republicans in 1998 with Bill Clinton,” he told Savannah Guthrie. “And if all of Congress is focusing on hearings to do scandals, the voters will punish them. They’ve done it in the past.”

That’s because “overplay their hand” is what media liberals always say they’re stuck with a story that makes Democrats look bad. It happened this week with Benghazi:

“Scarborough: GOP Overplayed Its Hand On Benghazi” (MSNBC)

“Breathless over Benghazi: Republicans can’t help overplaying their hand” (David Horsey, Baltimore Sun, May 14).

“Jake Tapper panel in explosive battle over whether GOP is ‘overplaying their hand’ on Benghazi” (CNN, May 13)

Actually it happened from the beginning in Benghazi. The blood was barely dry before the press was attacking Mitt Romney for “overplaying” his response to the attack.

And if it sounds wearily familiar, it should.

“Schumer says Republicans ‘overplayed their hand’ in birth control fight” (TheHill, Feb. 24, 2012)

“Will the church, GOP overplay their hand?” (Politico, Feb. 10, 2012)

“House Republicans overplay their hand on Libya” (CBS News, June 24, 2011)

“Republicans overplay their hand, anger usual ally” (Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune, July 6, 2011)

The trick is to admit there’s a problem for Democrats, but immediately knock it back into the Republicans’ court. Just say they “overplayed their hand.” Generally followed by some version of, “the American people are tired of the bickering.”

So, yes, the Republicans will “overplay” the IRS scandal in the mainstream media.

After all, “they’ve done it in the past.”


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