The Optics of Darrell Issa

Rep. Cummings is a national treasure. Rep. “We’re in charge, close it down” Issa, not so much. Per the New Republic:

In a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings snapped at Chairman Darrell Issa, calling his investigation “un-American.” Issa has long been the Republican attack dog in the House and has been leading the charge against the IRS scandal. On Wednesday, former IRS employee Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to Issa’s questions.

After ten minutes of questioning Lerner and not receiving any answers, Issa abruptly ended the hearing, prompting Cummings to tell Issa, “You cannot run a hearing like this. You just cannot do this. We are better than that as a country. We are better than that as a committee.” Issa stood up and told everyone in the room that the hearing was adjourned…

It’s worth listening to the entire seven-minute MSNBC clip at the link (sorry, I’ve not been able to embed) because Rep. Cummings’ statement really deserves to be heard. David Ferguson, at Raw Story, has the shorter:

Cummings went on to say that over the course of the last year, the investigation has squandered more than $14 million and “we have found no evidence to support allegations of a political conspiracy against conservative groups.”

The committee has found, he said, “evidence of gross mismanagement” within the bureau, but nothing to support conservative groups’ allegations that they were specifically targeted for punitive taxation and auditing…

Dana Milbank, at the Washington Post, “Darrell Issa… hits a new low”:

Issa told Wallace on Sunday that Lerner’s “attorney indicates now that she will testify” after refusing to do so at a hearing last year. The lawyer denied this, and Lerner did not testify Wednesday — and that would have been the news, if not for Issa’s sound-system antics. Because it was technically a continuation of last year’s appearance by Lerner, Issa didn’t allow opening statements, and he didn’t let his Democratic counterpart speak after Lerner had declined to testify.

“Now you’re turning me off?” Cummings said, incredulously, as Issa pressed the silencing button.

Issa must have realized it didn’t look good for him to be standing and holding the mute button while the ranking Democrat spoke. He briefly sat and allowed Cummings to speak, but then stood and silenced the microphone again.

“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this!” Cummings shouted. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. . . . It is absolutely un-American.”

Issa gave Cummings a look of loathing and said, quietly, “We had a hearing. It is adjourned. I gave you an opportunity to ask a question. You have no question.”

While Cummings continued to read his unamplified statement, Issa walked out and was asked by reporters in the hallway why he shut the sound. “He was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation,” Issa said. “This has been a bipartisan investigation.”

Bipartisan: one party to protest, and the other party to unplug the microphones.

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41 replies
  1. 1
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Is it wrong to hope Issa (R- Unindicted Grand Theft) falls off the 101 soon?

  2. 2
    IowaOldLady says:

    Elijah Cummings is a much stronger person than I am. I can’t imagine having to go to work every day and be on Issa’s committee.

    I’m hoping Issa has been so outrageous that his behavior can’t be ignored.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I watched this a few hours ago, and I must say I have rarely seen as ugly an expression on anyone’s face as on Issa’s face glaring at Rep. Cummings. Almost terrifying, the loathing he conveyed.

    What a piece of scum.

  4. 4
    jharp says:

    I see this stunt by Issa and the treatment of Lois Lerner blowing up in the faces of republicans.

    The treatment of both Lerner and Cummings is fucking outrageous.

  5. 5
    donnah says:

    This was on the evening news broadcast tonight. Issa looked like a prick and everyone else was visibly uncomfortable. Cummings was livid, and rightly so.

    Issa should be removed from his position as he clearly has lost his mind. And because he’s taken the role of Asshole Extraordinaire to the maximum level.

  6. 6
    Gravenstone says:

    In Issa-speak, “bipartisan” means the Democrats on the committee show up, being seen but never heard. Can’t have dissenting voices getting in the way of his witch hunt.

    And $14M spent on the investigation? Sounds like Whitewater levels of Republican stimulus (paid solely to partisan hacks and lackeys).

  7. 7
    KG says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): yes, yes it is… Mainly because that would completely fuck up traffic

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    Issa. Does. Not. Care.

  9. 9

    Optics is one of those words that political pundits use, that I hate. Optics is the study of visible light, there is wave optics and there is geometric optics. I don’t understand this optics of Brad Pitt, and Darrell Issa business.

  10. 10
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It gives me a pedantic headache as well, but I’ve given up pointing that out.

  11. 11
    KG says:

    @Gravenstone: they believe their own propaganda. Limbaugh, 10-12 years ago, would go on about how “bipartisanship” in Washington speak was “democrats get everything they want, republicans bend over.” So, they figured when they had a majority, bipartisan should have meant they get everything they want

  12. 12
    raven says:

    Issa is just a fucking punk.

  13. 13
    Gravenstone says:

    @KG: You’re presuming the traffic would stop. I’d like to think they’d keep rolling, grinding his corpse into the tarmac.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    I don’t want to go Putin, here, but, yeah, certain segments of our ruling class do have some projection and envy issues.

    Putin is more polished in stage management, at least in Moscow, if not elsewhere.

    Saw a story that Issa admitted that he’s very probably got nothing. I will visit the Google.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    @donnah

    And because he’s taken the role of Asshole Extraordinaire to the maximum level.

    Issa: “Tut-tut. Ass, I?”

    /strained palindrome

  16. 16
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @raven: Worse-Issa is a racist.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    Issa Says His IRS Investigation Might Have Hit A ‘Dead End’

    ‘ A reporter than asked Issa if he was still “confident” the investigation would “get to the bottom of this.”

    “It may well be we have gotten to the bottom of it,” Issa said. “At this point, roads lead to Ms. Lerner…. ‘

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....s-dead-end

    Oh well, another chapter of Issa’s Mother of All Scandals bites the dust. Or maybe another chapter of Issa’s Sum of All Smears ends as a shaggy dog story. Something like that.

    Now, a guy like Nixon, or Putin, they delivered some real nail biters.

    Sorry about going Putin again on Issa.

  18. 18
    KG says:

    @Gravenstone: they’d stop traffic to clean up the mess

  19. 19
    RSR says:

    I loved a quote I saw elsewhere that said a third rep, when Mr. Cummings inquired about the ending of the meeting, said’ Elijah, he’s invoking the fifth,’ or something close to that.

    I was happy to see that snarky comments in meetings–when appropriate–extend all the way to Congress. My wife is very good at those, and, sometimes, it makes me cringe, but if Representatives do it, then I think she has the green light.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    “we have found no evidence to support allegations of a political conspiracy against conservative groups.”

    Which is why they’re still investigating. Issa knows what he wants to find, and he isn’t going to give up until he finds it.

  21. 21
    Mandalay says:

    How long before Bill Maher has Issa on his show yet again, so they can chortle together about what pussies the Democrats are?

  22. 22
    Patrick says:

    @Mandalay:

    How long before Bill Maher has Issa on his show yet again, so they can chortle together about what pussies the Democrats are?

    He thinks Democrats are weak/cowardly, yet Maher doesn’t want MSNBC to go after Chris Christie…

  23. 23
    maeve says:

    Coincidentally they had “Good Night and Good Luck” on TV a couple of days ago – this is like the “at long last have you no shame” moment in the Army-McCarthy hearings – except that now, although the video will go viral, large sections of the nation aren’t watching the same thing at the same time – and Fox/Limbaugh et al. have inoculated a large segment to not believe things that don’t fit with their world view.

    Off topic – it was also really interesting to see the Murrow/Liberace interview and see how much the context part where Murrow asks “Lee” if he plans to get married has changed even since Good Night & Good Luck was released. (I’m assuming at the time it was actually a pre-arranged question at the request of Liberace’s agent not a setup or trap.) Some things do change for the better.

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    Somebody’s gotta’ indict the sumbitch for something.

  25. 25
    muddy says:

    @maeve: There were a bunch of people off camera saying “Shame” when Issa turned the mic off. He’s so stupid he probably thought they were on his side.

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    @raven:

    He Issa douche.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Isn’t he a little disappointing as a villain, though? We were told there would be subpoenas, witnesses called, actual legal proceedings resulting from his endless investigations, all sorts of threats.

    Remember that? When they took the House? “Issa will tie this administration up in knots” Their base believes that the IRS fake-scandal is an actual scandal, so they can’t drop it now, but it really isn’t very interesting.

    He’s a bad witch hunter. He’s just not very good at this.

  28. 28
    mainmata says:

    Issa has always been an entitled Pr*ck. And stupid. Why his constituents keep voting for this crook is beyond me. But definitely terrible video for him.

  29. 29
    Cervantes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Optics is one of those words that political pundits use, that I hate. Optics is the study of visible light, there is wave optics and there is geometric optics. I don’t understand this optics of Brad Pitt, and Darrell Issa business.

    Sure, but love it or hate it, it’s not new. I remember it being used that way in the ’70s.

    It’s here to stay, I’d guess.

  30. 30
    cmorenc says:

    @jharp:

    I see this stunt by Issa and the treatment of Lois Lerner blowing up in the faces of republicans.

    The treatment of both Lerner and Cummings is fucking outrageous.

    It might, if more than a very small portion of the electorate would spend the time to give Congressional hearings any attention. Instead, all they absorb are occasional 15-30 second sound bytes between watching sports or “Dancing With the Stars”. Most people spend more time watching one basketball or football game than they do in watching two decades worth of congressional hearings combined.

  31. 31
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: Hey, after we spoke about “sporadic voters” the other day, I left you a relevant analysis by Celinda Lake.

  32. 32
    GxB says:

    @donnah:

    Issa should be removed from his position…

    Agreed, unfortunately this would only add ‘evidence’ to their “always the victim of the massive might of the left-wing” shtick. Poor, poor, oppressed babies.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Darrell “Grand Theft Auto” Issa is a disgrace to the US Congress.

    Given the deplorable state of the House of Representatives, this is saying something.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cmorenc:

    The MSM certainly is ignoring it. If a Democrat did something like that to Issa, the bleating of the Village could be heard clear to the Klingon Empire.

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Thanks. That’s all we did for the school bond election, so it was fun to watch because it was such a small number. The Rising Electorate. Low income women with children, specifically. We needed an additional 400 votes.

    It’s not good right now, though, I have to say. I went to the county Dem meeting last Tuesday and the Labor Council after that, and people are really dispirited. The weather has been brutal, so maybe that’s part of it but there’s this sort of grim resignation that doesn’t really bode well, was my sense.

    I think I told you I don’t have a lot of love for the “ladders of opportunity” theme, or whatever that is. I don’t understand it myself. I think people are going to say “oh. job training

    I know the political people who advise Democrats don’t intend this, but it sounds like they’re blaming working people for not making enough money. That’s how it feels to me. I get cranky and defensive listening to it. I just don’t think they’re connecting with that approach.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    @donnah:

    Issa should be removed from his position as he clearly has lost his mind. And because he’s taken the role of Asshole Extraordinaire to the maximum level.

    File under “F” for feature, not bug. The Confederate Republican members of congress are so bugfuck crazy Issa seems like a hot-waxed Lexus salesman by comparison.

  37. 37
    Mike in NC says:

    My wife’s cousin is a retired DOS career diplomat and a former US Ambassador to Lebanon. He knows Issa very well and knows what a slimy maggot he is.

  38. 38
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    One thing nobody talks about, at least as far as I’ve seen/heard, is that John Boehner, the third ranking Constitutional politician in the country, started braying about somebody going to jail based on the report very selectively leaked (as Gerry Connelly recalled just now on O’Donnell’s show) by the Bush-appointed IRS Inspector General, whose actions were certainly partisan and dishonest, if not illegal. It’s not hard to imagine why Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth.

    Issa’s in a class by himself, but the lack of coverage of the stupid things Boehner says, his constant hypocrisy, is worse, given their relative positions.

  39. 39
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Sherrod Brown was in the paper telling people to get the Earned Income Tax Credit. So…what do they have for the midterms? EITC and minimum wage? I’m just not feeling that as sufficient, as far as “sporadic voters” or the Rising Electorate.

    It’s not doing anything for me, in terms of my populist rage :)

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: Watching the Democrats prepare their strategy for mid-term elections, are you ever reminded of Isaiah 53:7?

  41. 41
    Someguy says:

    This is a phony scandal, and un-American. It’s perfectly appropriate for the IRS to target these fraudulent Republican fake grass roots 501c(4) groups.

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