Congressman Rat (AKA Darrell Issa) previously has appeared in this blog: here, here, and here. Now, Congressman Rat is a piñata for Eags in the NY Fishwrap. There is no more deserving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Forget Captain Orange (Speaker John Boner) and his leadership team: a tag-team oxymoron. In the words of Issa Rat's chief staffer: "this crap" (Issa Rat's investigations) describes the Congressman as well. If this is a (fair & balanced) of Congressman Darrell Issa as a walking pile of guano, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
The Charade Of Darrell Issa
By Timothy Egan
Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing
So, this guy who made a stink-pile of money in the car alarm business, and had some youthful trouble with the law over auto-related liberties, gets the break he’s been waiting for after Republicans win control of the House in 2010. He’s given the keys to the biggest Caddie in Congress: the main oversight committee. It’s loaded with everything — subpoena power, an overhead cam worth of auditors and investigators, a hyperkinetic staff devoted to keeping shine on the boss.
He’s got plans, lots of plans. He’s going to stage television-ready hearings and investigations of the White House. He will bring Barack Obama to his knees. “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” he says. Don’t worry about substance, he says of one subject field, “it’ll be good theater.”
For Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, it’s a dream come true, all the things they’ve been ranting about, finally getting the imprimatur of official business. For Darrell Issa, the congressman given free rein to free range in half-truths and conspiracies, it’s what he’s always wanted. He’s a player! He exists to give Fox and friends programming.
But then, after millions of dollars in investigative forays, the wheels come off the ride. Fast and Furious — that gunrunning scheme into Mexico by federal agents, known to conservatives as a vast conspiracy by Obama to bring on gun control — is traced to the White House, just as Issa predicted. Except, it was George W. Bush’s White House, where the practice of letting guns cross borders originated in a similar program called Operation Wide Receiver. Move along.
Solyndra, the subsidizing of a money-losing solar energy company, and the tragedy of Benghazi — Watergate-level cover-ups, yes? They both sank with truth that was much more banal and sad. Next.
In May, Issa hit it big with a story about Internal Revenue Service field agents questioning the nonprofit claims of Tea Party groups. This was “a targeting of the president’s political enemies,” said Issa. Again, don’t worry about facts, he could trace it to Washington somehow — “we’re getting to proving it,” he said.
He never proved “it,” of course. Just the opposite. Upon closer examination, it was found that the I.R.S. was aggressively targeting liberal groups, as well, flagging those with “progressive” or “medical marijuana” in their names. D’oh!
By now, it should be obvious that Representative Issa, a Republican from California who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, is not the least bit interested in governing, a sentiment shared by a majority of his fellow nihilists in the House. Immigration reform — the most significant thing lawmakers could do in this decade — is a critically ill patient in the emergency room of the Republican House.
Issa made his governing intentions clear three years ago, when he told Rush Limbaugh that President Obama “has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He later took back the comment, but his motive was exposed for the method that would follow: he would exercise all of his official power to prove a sinister narrative. He would do exactly what he accused Obama of doing, using government muscle to harass his political enemies. Anything that disproves his narrative — e.g. I.R.S. targeting of liberals — is swept aside. He starts with a conclusion and works his way back.
That he has been laughably inept, firing one blank after the other, is beside the point. Issa, as my colleague Mark Leibovich chronicles in his new book, This Town (2013), is the monster that Washington has created for our times. As Kurt Bardella, Issa’s über-opportunistic aide, a Sammy Glick with a BlackBerry, says in the book: “I am completely focused on making Darrell Issa a household name.”
Bardella got in trouble for speaking the truth, the Michael Kinsley definition of a gaffe, when he called the focus of Issa’s investigations “this crap.” The characterization prompted a senior Democrat on Issa’s committee to write a letter inquiring why so many millions in taxpayer dollars, and countless weeks of Congressional attention, were being spent on “this crap.”
I should say, by way of anticipating pushback from Issa’s apologists, that nobody from the White House contacted me about the congressman. In his book, Leibovich notes that Obama’s people were peddling dirt on Issa, particularly the time he was under investigation for grand theft auto, charges that were dropped long ago.
I live in the other Washington, more than 2,700 miles from That Town, but even in this far corner I can smell the tidal stench this summer. In Leibovich’s book, the capital is a swamp of sycophants, vacuity and soullessness. Those new to power aspire to join the permanent class — a “political herd that never dies or gets older, only jowlier, richer and more heavily made-up.”
The rest of us, I suppose, could take a schadenfreude moment while considering the freaks who populate This Town. Or we could just laugh at the madness. But it’s not slip-on-the-banana-peel-funny when one of the three main branches of a venerable democracy falls apart. In Darrell Issa, for the age of dysfunctional politics, we have the government we deserve. Ω
[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]
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