Why Republicans Can’t Destroy Obama
But I think we’re seeing the limits that the House Republicans’ extremism imposes on their ability to accomplish a practical political task. The task in question is taking full advantage of an administration scandal or two in order to do maximum damage to the President. And they can’t seem to manage it.
Let’s look, for instance, at the point man on all these questions, Darrell Issa, who runs the House Oversight Committee. On Sunday, in an impolitic moment, Issa called White House spokesman Jay Carney Obama’s “paid liar,” making him seem not like a sober-minded investigator looking for the truth, but an angry partisan. Sensing an opening, David Plouffe tweeted, “Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler. And loose ethically today.” Plouffe was referring to some rather colorful episodes from Issa’s pre-politics career (details here); though he was never convicted of anything, there were credible charges on both counts. In any case, it makes him something of an imperfect messenger for suggestions of administration wrongdoing.
But more importantly, Issa just doesn’t seem to be all that effective at this role. You might say that even if the Republicans had a real ace in that chairmanship it wouldn’t much matter, because the facts of the mini-scandals just don’t leave them much to work with. On the ultimate questions, like “Can they impeach the President over this?” that’s probably true, but along the way they might be having more of an impact.
And Issa isn’t the only one making himself look a little foolish