We were disappointed when incoming Government Reform and Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa seemed to sidle up to Barack Obama by saying there was “not a chance” he would consider investigations that might lead to impeachment, at least “at this point.” Issa channeled Chris Matthews in his most recent pronouncement to reassure his implacable political foes.
On election night, just as House Minority Leader John Boehner finished his tearful victory speech, Issa told reporters on a conference call, “I want to prove the pundits wrong.” As he saw it, he said, “My job is not to bring down the president. My job is to make the president a success.”
No, that is not the job of a watchdog chairman. That is Chris Matthews’ job. Those less slavishly devoted to Obama than the talking head with the tingling leg are more interested in serving their defined roles, uncovering corruption, and making the United States a success.
The MSNBC pundit told Joe Scarborough:
Matthews: Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that –
Scarborough: Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist!
Matthews: Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country…To make this work successfully, because this country needs a successful presidency.
As part of the plan for making Obama a success, Issa claims, “We’ve been hired to take America back to the middle.” Issa said. He could not more dangerously misread the message of this election.
According to Politico, Issa “struck a bipartisan tone, promising to work with…Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform.”
That is like working with Adolf Hitler on civil liberties reform. (Obligatory Media Matters disclaimer: I am not equating Frank with Hitler, although members of the SA may have frequented the same clubs as Frank, et. al.)
Issa stated he may investigate the Post Office’s financial troubles.
On Wednesday, Issa added he may end up investigating President George W. Bush. “When we look at the failures of Freddie [Mac] and Fannie [Mae], the Countrywide scandal, those all began during President Bush’s time,” Issa said. “The enemy is the bureaucracy, not necessarily the current occupant of the White House.”
This tone has gladdened the hearts of liberals, who are offering unsolicited advice to the man who will wield subpoena power. Former Clinton aide Paul Begala had some helpful words for Issa. He said, “I don’t think he’s likely to fall into that trap” of investigating too broadly. “His base and his leadership, writ large, they can really hurt him here,” Begala cautioned. According to The Daily Caller, “Begala said the smart strategy would be to put impeachment entirely off the table, as Nancy Pelosi did facing calls for Bush’s impeachment from her own liberal base when Democrats took the House in 2006.”
If Issa followed this course, it would certainly boost Democratic fortunes. But the only way Issa can satisfy the pundit class is by submitting to a political neutering followed by hara-kiri. And the only way he can fail to “bring down the president” is by ignoring his constitutional duty to investigate every credible allegation of fraud, abuse, and illegality committed by this administration, any one of which should bring the Obama administration to an abrupt surcease.