Our View: Ahead, the falls

Posted: July 24, 2013

As President Obama deftly seeks to steer his political ship of state into relatively calmer waters — away from the swirls of scandal and roiling racial rapids — there’s indications aplenty that the falls are looming closer than the White House might realize.

In other words, the next two months may prove highly interesting, and perhaps even a bit perilous for the president as a number of critical issues careen toward tipping-point status. Consider, if you will:

 All the fire on the IRS “targeting” scandal has been on the House side, but, as we were reminded earlier this week, Senate Finance is also investigating this mess — and beneath a bipartisan aegis. no less. Way back in May, Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said “a lot more” information will be coming out about this scandal. Mr. Baucus gave the impression of knowing, or at least suspecting, “a lot more” then. We wonder what he and senior Republican member Orrin Hatch of Utah have learned in the intervening months.

 The Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, backed by the president, is running into trouble. Recent polls, particularly one commissioned by The Washington Post and ABC News, show a nation divided on this issue. That no decided public support exists for this legislation offers ample cover for House Republicans to remain unalterably against it, and resolute in their desire to tackle the issue on a piecemeal basis.

 A discharge petition is circulating through the House essentially calling the question on a select committee — long championed by 10th District Republican Frank Wolf — to probe the wherefores and whys of the Benghazi raid.

 Finally, as The Hill reported Tuesday, Senate Republicans appear to be coalescing around a proposal to block any end-of-the-fiscal-year funding resolution that includes money for the implementation of ObamaCare. This, we acknowledge, represents a considerable risk on the part of the GOP, but even party leaders — Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota, for example — are so emboldened by the administration’s troubles implementing key provisions of ObamaCare (i.e., the employer mandate) that they would go the mat on this issue.

What’s more, the GOP knows ObamaCare is increasingly unpopular, as is the president — at least for the moment. A recent Marist poll showed the president’s approval rating (41 percent) at a two-year low.

Perilous waters? Perhaps.