Darrell Issa's 15 proudest moments
January 4, 2011-
1. Issa Calls 9/11 Attacks in New York a Plane Crash
Issa's slur against World Trade Center rescue workers was the perhaps most unforgettable moment in a truly forgettable political career. Almost three years before President Obama signed the $4.2 billion 9/11 responders health care bill into law, Rep. Issa was waging a campaign to stop it.
Desperate to refuse federal funds to the ailing workers who rushed to Ground Zero, Issa denied the September 11 carnage was an attack on the United States at all. As the New York Post summed it up:
"It's very simple: I can't vote for additional money for New York if I can't see why it would be appropriate to do this every single time a similar situation happens, which quite frankly includes any urban terrorist. It doesn't have to be somebody from al Qaeda. It can be someone who decides that they don't like animal testing at one of our pharmaceutical facilities."
Issa said thedestruction of the World Trade Center did not involve a dirty bomb or a chemical weapon designed to make people sick.
"It simply was an aircraft, residue of the aircraft and residue of the materials used to build this building," Issa said.
2. Issa Weeps Over Premature Withdrawal from Gubernatorial Race
In the film, A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks proclaims, "there's no crying in baseball." If that same standard applied to American politics, Darrell Issa's career like that of John Boehner would have ended long ago.
In 2003, Issa led the effort to recall California Governor Gray Davis. (Davis was undone by the energy crisis which crippled the Golden State thanks in large part to market manipulation by Enron.) But part two of the Issa plan - to capture the Governor's office himself - abruptly ran aground when Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to get in the race.
On August 7, 2003, Issa shocked supporters and announced he would not continue his candidacy. Comically claiming, "It had nothing to do with Schwarzenegger's decision," Issa at times wept uncontrollably as he made his premature withdrawal. (This video shows Issa's pathetic performance as he concluded his gubernatorial ambitions had been terminated. The water works start around the 7:30 mark.)
3. Issa Asks Big Business to "Tell Me What to Change"
By last spring, Issa had emerged, in the words of the New York Times, as President Obama's "Annoyer-in-Chief." And fresh off his inquisition in the Sestak no-pay-for-no-play non-scandal he deemed "Obama's Watergate", Issa last summer made clear he plans to ramp up the GOP's efforts to protect its friends and target its enemies. While the Obama administration had much to fear a Republican takeover of the House, Darrell Issa promised his party's business backers they would have a friend on Capitol Hill:
"That will make all the difference in the world. I won't use it to have corporate America live in fear that we're going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing."
This week, Rep. Issa made good on his promise to big businesses, asking them in a letter to 150 trade associations to "tell me what to change."
4. Issa Labels Obama "Most Corrupt" President
By August, Politico was previewing what it deemed Issa's "season of subpoenas." But for his part, Darrell Issa was sending mixed signals about the inquisition to come. As the Washington Post reported:
Good Darrell, writing in USA Today on Oct. 11: "Oversight is not and should not be used as a political weapon against the occupant of the Oval Office. It should not be an instrument of fear or the exclusive domain of the party that controls Congress."
Bad Darrell, to Rush Limbaugh on Oct. 19: "You know, there will be a certain degree of gridlock as the president adjusts to the fact that he has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times."
This weekend, Bad Darrell repeated the charge. Ignoring both Nixon's Watergate scandals and the Abramoff, U.S. attorneys, Plamegate, domestic spying and MZM imbroglios which defined the Bush White House, Issa branded Obama's "one of the most corrupt" administrations.
5. Issa Uses Tim Russert's Death to Push for Oil Drilling
After the death of NBC reporter and Meet the Press host Tim Russert in June 2008, members of the House of Representatives offered their condolences and eulogies to Russert while discussing a resolution in his honor. During the debate, Issa took to the floor to instead make a pitch for off-shore drilling:
"We are going to miss Tim Russert when it comes to the people on both sides of the issue of why we have $5 oil - $5 gasoline and $135 oil. I think Tim Russert would have been just the right guy to hold people accountable, who would talk about the 68 million acres that are, quote, inactive, while in fact 41 million are under current lease and use and are producing millions of barrels of oil and natural gas a day...
...So, Madam Speaker, I am going to miss Tim Russert because this debate is too important not to have a fact-oriented, unbiased moderator who could in fact bring to bear the truth that we need to have."