After decades of indulgent public floggings and ideological fishing expeditions led by chief congressional inquisitor Henry Waxman (see here here here here for starters), Democrats are suddenly worried about abuse of investigative powers.
Let’s all let out a hearty New Year’s snort:
The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is warning GOP leaders against partisan “witch hunts” when they take over the panel this year.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Sunday that such investigations might play well politically, but they ultimately undermine the bipartisanship required to tackle the many problems facing the country.
“We can’t have witch hunts. We can’t have these fishing expeditions,” Cummings said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
…Cummings, a 14-year veteran of the Oversight panel, cited the GOP investigations of the Clinton administration, where witnesses, he said, “were dragged in to depositions — people making $50,000 a year had to pay $25,000, $30,000 to hire a lawyer.”
“We’re just going to have to be careful with this power,” he said.
Call the concern troll patrol.
Meanwhile, incoming GOP House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa is garnering lots of attention — and provoking much left-wing media angst — over his extensive probe plans. Here’s his priority list via Politico.
Issa and his staff have done stellar work exposing corruption and malfeasance while in the minority. Will they be able to live up to the Drudge-headlined hype now that they’ve got subpoena powers? Rule #1 in politics: Manage expectations. It’s a smart rule not only for politicians in the limelight, but also for voters.
Already, Issa has flip-flopped on his promise to probe the Joe Sestak/White House bribe scandal and softened his criticism of corruption in the Obama administration. And Doug Powers called attention to his strange comments quoted in a post-midterm conference call in November: “I want to prove the pundits wrong. My job is not to bring down the president. My job is to make the president a success.”
Just a humble reminder: Issa’s job — and this goes for every GOP House leader — is not to mollify Beltway pundits.
Their job is not to manage White House p.r. and “reach across the aisle” and “get things done” for the sake of bipartisanship.
Their job is to protect taxpayers’ best interests, rein in a bloated, out-of-control federal government, and abide by their oaths of office.
Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades reviews the Issa list and asks, “Is this what you had in mind?”:
The to-do list is: “1. Impact of regulation on job creation … 2. Fannie/Freddie & the Foreclosure Crisis … 3. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the failure to identify origins of the financial crisis … 4. Combating corruption in Afghanistan … 5. WikiLeaks … 6. FDA/Food & Drug Safety.”
Notable omissions: Sestak bribery probe. AG Holder and the voter intimidation case. The stimulus spending and mismanagement. Pigford II. The GM dealerships kerfuffle.
Kevin at Hillbuzz is not happy:
It’s time to say no to Sharpton, Jackson, Henry Gates, and the rest of the Race Industry.
It’s time to bring investigations into Sestak, the Black Panthers, and Pigford. It’s time to expose the truth about Obama to Americans.
Maybe Republicans are stymied because they know the media won’t report on anything negative related to Obama, so they believe that even if they bring the investigations, that Obama will not fall in the eyes of voters since the media won’t cover the story.
The Republican Party earns the name “the Party of Stupid” in moments like this…because the media can be forced to cover these stories if enough people on the grassroots level gin the country up to demand their coverage. The media is walking a precariously fine line with shilling for Obama: already the media has a historically high distrust recorded from the public. The bias towards Democrats has never been clearer. If the media continues to protect Obama indefinitely, it does so at its own direct peril.
Republican leaders need to be aware of this, and grow a spine and do what the people want them to do. No more go-along-to-get-along/letting Democrats do whatever they damn well please because Republicans are afraid of calling them out for it.
“No more being afraid to speak up” should be the motto of the Republican Party.
The trick is, speaking up makes you a target of the Democrats’ Alinsky machine, which Republicans really and truly are terrified of.
How do we change that?
We have a new year, a new start…how do we use both to change business as usual for the meek Republican Party?