Credibility: Darrell Issa’s Problem
If you would like to know just exactly what’s wrong with Washington these days, look no further than Darrell Issa, the Representative of the 49th district in North San Diego County. Nothing screams “extreme partisanship” more than the way Issa has comported himself during his tenure in office.
Darrell Issa is on a one man crusade to discredit the Obama administration, and one can only assume with the ultimate goal of impeaching Obama. Since Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, there is no slight, no minute detail that Mr. Issa is willing to let slip by his guard in an effort to bring down this Democratic regime. It’s enough to make Don Quixote burst with pride!
The trouble is that Mr. Issa isn’t exactly the model of decency, honesty, and fairness himself. And as the saying goes, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
The latest dustup that has Issa once again tilting at windmills is the alleged criminal act of offering Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania an unpaid position in an effort to entice him to drop his ultimately successful primary challenge of sitting Senator and Republican convert Arlen Specter. You see, at the time of his much publicized switch, the Obama administration pledged to support Senator Specter in his reelection bid in 2010. And support him they did, if only rather tepidly.
This, in Issa’s partisan opinion, is grounds for criminal prosecution. Which would be just peachy with me so long as Mr. Issa was consistent in his quest for justice.
First, a brief historical look at the career of Mr. Issa: On his military service, Congressman Issa claimed that he served for nine years in the Army. But records show that he served only five years. Issa also claimed that he was part of an elite Army bomb unit that was detailed to protect President Nixon at the 1971 World Series. But records show that he spent a mere six months on a bomb disposal team while in a college ROTC program, which hardly qualifies him for elite status. Even more devastating, though, is that Nixon never attended any of the 1971 World Series games.
TalkingPointsMemo also found that Issa’s Army record was “marred by a bad conduct rating, a demotion, and allegations that he had stolen a fellow soldier’s car.” But that’s not the last time Issa would be accused of a crime.
In 1972, Issa was convicted of “Possession of an Unregistered Handgun,” the second time that year he was arrested on weapons charges. In 1982, he was a suspect in an arson fire at a Ohio manufacturing plant he owned. Just weeks prior to the fire, Issa had greatly beefed up his fire insurance protection on the plant.
In the political arena, Issa’s record is rather dubious as well: He accused outed CIA covert operative Valerie Plame of perjury during the congressional hearings investigating the misuse of power by the Bush administration in the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence; his allegations were baseless. He disparaged the testimony of four women whose family members were killed in Iraq at a hearing investigating the malfeasance of U.S. contractor Blackwater. He called the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York a plane crash to justify denying support to the heroes who rushed to Ground Zero and who are now suffering from serious health problems as a result.
He defended Roger Clemens’ steroid use in Congressional hearings. He defended the Bush administration’s criminal destruction of White House email records, saying that they weren’t intentionally deleted, but lost because of a software glitch (a charge he was later forced to retract). In fact, nearly every time the Bush White House came under scrutiny, there was Congressman Issa riding in on his white horse.
His defenses of the White House, though, only come when a Republican resides there. Ever since Obama took up residence, Issa has been on a non-stop quest to uncover a Watergate-esque scandal, all to no avail.
Congressman Issa has been rather schizophrenic on the issues: He adamantly opposes trials in civilian courts for Guantanamo detainees, while at the same time insisting suspected terrorists be afforded their Miranda rights, and opposing the loosening of the Miranda rules, even in the case of erstwhile Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He decries “uncontrolled government spending,” yet wholeheartedly supported the Bush administration’s uncontrolled spending.
Issa was a key figure behind the firing of former U.S. Attorney for San Diego Carol Lam for political reasons, yet he demands an investigation into the Obama administration’s dismissal of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, insisting it was for political reasons and citing a lack of transparency. As if the Bush administration’s firing of eight U.S. Attorneys was completely above-board and beyond reproach.
Darrell Issa is a very wealthy man who seems to have forgotten that not everybody in his district is so fortunate. And his thirst for power and attention has become a national embarrassment. He has been dishonest and disingenuous as a representative of the 49th district. He has worked tirelessly to advance the Republican agenda, yet has done precious little to make government work better for the voters who hired him. He has been an excellent political provocateur, but an abysmal legislator and representative of the people of the San Diego County.
San Diego deserves better. Mr. Issa was sent to Washington to work for the people of San Diego, not the Republican Party. Congress is being crippled by partisan sniping at its worst, and Congressman Issa is among the worst culprits. With unemployment in the county hovering around 11%, it would behoove Mr. Issa to get to work on behalf of his constituents instead of ministering over his Joseph McCarthy revival and his march to legitimize every last conspiracy theory whispered into his ear.