A political reporter whom I greatly respect, and who asks not to have the comment attributed to him, writes to comment on one possible side effect of the IRS scandal: “Not to be paranoid, but the IRS scandal may make it easier for the immigration-bill advocates to push their amazing bill through Congress while the public’s mind is elsewhere, if only because it gives the media another excuse not to actually look at the contents and economic impact of the bill.”
PAUL ADDS: I share this concern. In fact, this evening I expressed it during a conversation with several folks who work on the Hill.
There are at least two ways in which the current, scandal-rich environment might affect immigration reform. It could, as Scott’s contact fears, enable the Schumer-Rubio legislation to fly more-or-less under the radar during a critical period of time, thus increasing the likelihood of passage. Alternatively, it could undermine President Obama’s standing and thereby help Republicans overcome the Hispanic panic attack that has provided the impetus for amnesty. This might make passage of Schumer-Rubio, or some variation thereof, less likely.
My sense is that Schumer-Rubio will pass in the Senate under any plausible scenario, making the House the key battleground. Consideration in the House should take a pretty long time. By then, perhaps, the public’s mind will be much less diverted by Obama administration scandals (but perhaps not).
But this doesn’t mean the conservative portion of the public will be focused on immigration. Fox News probably will limit its coverage mostly to occasional disingenuous appearances by Sen. Rubio, who likely will face only friendly fire.
We’ll continue to bang the drum, along with other bloggers and, I’m confident, National Review. But in the end, I think it will be up to conservative talk radio to keep conservatives focused on the horrors of Schumer-Rubio.
And Scott’s contact is correct to worry that, with so many scandals heating up at once, conservative talk radio’s attention understandably will be diverted, at least for a while.