MSNBC host Chris Matthews is predicting the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives will benefit Republican Mitch McConnell, and could result in an easy re-election for Kentucky’s senior senator.
The agency has apologized for flagging political organizations with “tea party” and “patriot” in their name, but Republicans and Democrats have jabbed the Obama administration for not responding forcefully enough.
McConnell has pounced on the IRS controversy after all but predicting the controversy when he spoke out against the IRS targeting such groups last summer. Speaking from the Senate floor Wednesday, McConnell warned the president shouldn’t “stonewall” any investigation and dismissed the agency’s explanation.
Speaking on Morning Joe, Matthews says the scandal will haunt President Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2014 elections, adding it will likely save McConnell from a serious challenge.
“The Republican Party, I’m telling you, this is worth five or ten points to everybody out there who was ready to lose an election next year,” he say.s “And I’ll tell you, this is Mitch McConnell’s ticket to ride. He will not have a serious opponent.”
Tea Party activists have joined McConnell in calling for an investigation of the agency, and at least one group has praised the GOP leader for his efforts.
However, as Kentucky Public Radio’s Kenny Colston reports not all Tea Party folks in the state are sold on McConnell’s position.
The IRS story is further complicated by swirling accusations and controversies over the administration’s handling of the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya last year, and revelations the Justice Department was monitoring phone calls made by AP reporters.
But the growing chorus of Democrats who have criticized the White House’s response to the agency’s actions indicates the IRS situation might have more influence among average voters in next year’s mid-term.
Matthews, who has been a vocal Obama supporter, says the president is being too passive and needs to understand the implication of the taxing agency appearing to favor liberal views.
“This is the worst thing you can do about government, is undermine the basic trust that although it could be tough and tax rates could be tough on you they roughly fair, that they’re not out to screw some group. Now anybody out there in the country can say, hey, I don’t trust these guys. They were targeting us,” he says.