With the kind of past that Rep. Darrell Issa has, you have to wonder at the gall of the man. Like one of those former smokers who go around raging against smoking, he frenziedly seeks out evil-doers to expose – even where no evil doing exists. But I figured he would. You might recall a blog I wrote months ago warning you to watch out for a vendetta against the president. When John Boehner picked Issa as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, I knew Barack Obama was due for the most relentless harassment. If there’s one thing Issa is familiar with, it’s skullduggery; he’s been involved in some shady dealings himself. And if he can’t find any, he is all-too capable of making it up.
Congress is no collection of angels. There’s no constitutional ban on criminals – convicted criminals even – running for, or serving in, public office. And from the information I’ve found on the web, it seems most of our elected representatives have been convicted – or at least formally charged – with one or more crimes. But even in that sorry pack of rogues, Darrell Issa is a standout.
In today’s Salon.com, editor-at-large Joan Walsh has this to say about the crusading congressman:
The only thing that makes Rep. Darrell Issa remotely qualified to chair the House Oversight Committee is his personal familiarity with the investigative process – on the receiving end. The man Republican House Speaker John Boehner put in charge of investigating government wrongdoing was himself indicted for stealing a car, accused of stealing at least one other car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and twice suspected of insurance fraud – and once extensively investigated by authorities for arson, because his former business associates accused him, on the record, of burning down a building to collect the insurance payout.
Now you know why David Plouffe tweeted that remark about Issa’s links to Grand Theft Auto and arson. (Of course, the right-wing blogosphere lit up with attacks on Plouffe for being so “uncivil” and assertions that his lack of couth was due to desperation among Obama supporters.)
As I have said before (and will probably say again), I believe in redemption. I am all for second chances. And repentant criminals could very well become decent public servants. But I don’t see any signs of repentance here. Issa is unchastened and unabashed, hurling patently false accusations at anything and everything connected with the Obama Administration.
As Ms. Walsh observes, Issa has gone too far even for scandal-happy Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Fortunately, nobody with any sense is listening to the man. He has zero credibility.
Ms. Walsh concludes:
I’m happy even some mainstream media pundits are warning that Issa’s overreach could hurt the GOP in 2014. And yet that new rhetorical twist puts the focus on horse race politics, where all of journalism appears most comfortable today. Issa’s extremism may or may not hurt his party at the polls. All I know is it should be hurting him, and the GOP, more with the American people, when they think about what they want in their leaders.
I can only hope that even an electorate as tolerant of dirty tricks as this one will draw the line at Issa and his ilk.