I'm apathetic about politics, but not policy. My government is a bureaucracy, not a democracy, and inroads into my bureaucracy's efficiency and ability to perform raise my hackles. The legacy of this administration for me will not be the war -- we have always been warmongers -- but the attempted destruction of the bureaucracy by means of the replacement of competent civil servants with party operatives.
My great fear is that the next political winners will seek not to roll back this political encroachment on policy, but to replace these hacks with operatives of their own stripe. Once, the harm caused by incompetent leaders could be mitigated by a bureaucratic corps of dedicated civil servants: bad policy could be replaced with good policy, and longterm, secure workers could actually implement the changes.
The current administration, since day one, has been cleaning house of government employees who don't pass a party loyalty test, replacing them with inexperienced team players. Appointees without the competence and the Rolodexes of their predecessors are unable to make government work, no matter what the politicians might decide.
I'm afraid 1,800 dead in the New Orleans flood was just the beginning; I blame these deaths on the GOP and their long-term plot to replace experience with inexperience in order to corrupt the workings of government to their will.
I don't think of this as politics-as-usual, about which I'm apathetic (American political discourse is all chaff; divisive and polarized interests have seen to it that we all have an identity at odds with our common weal, and the silage we rely on rots while we tend to choking weeds). I see this as an attempt to destroy the political system we have and replace it with one-party rule.
The GOP doesn't want him dragging this out, trust me. They want him to sweep himself under the rug as quickly as possible.
That said they always play politics tactically and could easily try to make something of it in the distraction sphere. But it's a very tricky game for them to play.
Primarily I wouldn't worry because recent history has shown that distraction or not shit goes down and most people shrug. In other words it doesn't matter if this is a distraction, it doesn't really change what will happen.