The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel on Sunday said that Republicans were succeeding at using "weapons of mass distraction" to obstruct President Barack Obama's second term agenda.
During an ABC News panel discussion about the a number of scandals that Republicans are using to attack the Obama administration, Washington Post columnist George Will asserted that IRS scrutiny of tea party groups was like Watergate because "it's the use of the federal machinery to punish enemies of the administration."
"Watergate? Seriously, George?" Vanden Heuvel replied. "I mean, Watergate was a scandal unique in its depths of criminality. You had a president at the heart of the White House directing the subversion of the FBI and other institutions, including the IRS... And the key scandal -- which you will disagree with -- is that we had after Citizens United a flood of money coming in, and you had groups which were clearly political and partisan trying to use this 501(c)4 [tax-exempt] categorization to escape political scrutiny."
Vanden Heuvel went on to point out that the Republican Party was trying to substitute the so-called scandal at the IRS, attacks in Benghazi and the Justice Department's seizure of Associate Press phone records for a real political agenda.
"The Republican Party is unified by its determination to obstruct President Obama," she explained. "It's doing a good job. I mean, one of the terrible things this past week was to see again how it's obstructing the confirmation of appointees needed to run a functional government."
"However, I would say the president, his administration is floundering because they haven't -- they've allowed weapons of mass distraction to dominate because they haven't found their core agenda for the second term. What is it? Is it immigration reform, which might well have a better chance of passing because of this distraction in Washington?"
"Where's the job creation? Where's the action on guns? These are focuses of an administration in its second term that knows what it wants to do."