"I may have swung a bit too hard, putting Barack Obama’s Administration in the same league as Franklin Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service," Klein wrote this morning, backpedaling a bit from a strongly-worded May 11 piece reacting to the IRS-targeting-Tea Party scandal. Klein conceded that "The situation remains a major embarrassment, though," and then went on to wage an attack against the Republican Party for seeking to take advantage of the scandals to bash the Obama administration (emphasis mine):
[T]his isn’t over. I suspect the Republicans will take this the same route as Benghazi–why wasn’t the screwup made public when it became known internally in 2011? There will be a search for tell-tale emails. There will be hearings with the insufferable Darrell Issa of California leading the charge. There will be, yet again, a Republican attempt to turn a sin that seems venial into a mortal one for the Obama Administration. And the real question will be camouflaged in a blast of smoke and puffy: What is more dangerous to our democracy, the Obama Administration’s massaging of its mistakes or the Republicans’ constant campaign to paralyze our government through diversions like these?
Something tells me Klein didn't feel that way in 1974 with the Watergate proceedings, in 1987 with Iran-Contra, or in 2006 with hearings into the Bush administration's handling of Katrina.
Like the aforementioned second-term Republican scandals, Benghazi and the IRS matter erode public confidence in the administration. Of course, the media and its willingness to keep the fires of scandal burning makes a lot of difference, and this is where damage control by liberal journalists like Joe Klein comes into play.
At this point, the IRS scandal is a bridge too far for Klein to dismiss as small potatoes, but what he can do is insist that it's not worth wasting congressional resources, because we can't afford to "paralyze our government."
That's the sort of self-serving spin you might expect from partisan Democrats, not a veteran political journalist, even one who is given latitude to offer his opinion on political controversies, like Klein.