16 February 2011

Issa-lating Obama from Uncomfortable Inquiries (sic)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th) held a hearing to investigate the $787 Billion stimulus (a.k.a. Porkulus 1) from 2009.  But two key witness chairs remained empty as the Obama Administration did not deign to allow two key architects of the freespending economic policy testify.

Issa had requested the testimony of Christina Roemer, the former Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden’s Chief Economic aide, but the Obama Administration declined.  Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin insisted that senior White House advisors in Democrat and Republican Administrations generally do not testify before Congress.  But Cherlin indicated that this move is part of a general White House policy against top White House aides testifying before Congress.  Instead, the Obama White House offered to send a bureaucrat from the Commerce Department and the Transportation Department to testify about the economic impact of the massive two year old stimulus bill. Cherlin's rationales  defies credulity in covering all bases.  If it is customary to excuse Executive Branch officials from testifying, then why would there be a new move to bar White House aides from testifying?

In a Constitutional Republic like the United States, the Chief Executive does not decide with which laws his Administration will comply vis-a-vis a co-equal branch of the Federal Government.  The White Council of Economic Advisors requires its appointees to be obtain the advice and consent of the Senate.  That should not be a one time rubber stamp by the Legislative Branch.

In the case of Porkulus, I doubt that the obscure Commerce and Transportation Department bureaucrats could convincingly testify how many jobs were “saved” by the massive stimulus package, it would have been instructive to know what premises were behind the economic models which showed that Porkulus would cap the unemployment rate at 8 percent, when U.S. reported unemployment has been hovvering at near 10 percent (and is actually closer to 17%).

The White House can not claim that this was Executive Privilege for advise since the Obama Administration sold this spending spree to Congress and the public on this irrationally exuberant logic. Rep. Issa’s spokesman Kurt Bartella pithily opined “It really makes you wonder how much do they truly believe in their own work product when they aren’t willing to talk about it in a public forum.”

But this is not the only instance when the Obama Administration has stonewalled oversight from the new House Majority Leadership.  Obama Administration Homeland Security Head Janet Napolitano missed two deadlines for documents regarding alleged agency interference with document requests coming from lawmakers, watchdog groups and journalists.  Now HSA is said to be complying with the requests from Issa’s committee.

What is troubling is that Obama partisans are not content with dragging their feet and obstructing Congressional oversight.  The Politico has reported that liberals have launched an anti-Issa campaign.  The Third Lantern is a nonprofit group run by Averal Smith, a cut-throat Hillary 2008 operative, which aims to use the internet and paid media to undermine and investigate the rabble-rousing Issa.  The Third Lantern refuses to disclose who is bankrolling its efforts or how much will be spent to smear the Government Oversight Committee Chairman.

If the Obama Administration’s rhetoric would be represented in reality, the Administration would be cooperating with Congress to try to solve some of America’s pressing problems.  Instead, these words are wind meant to sway open minded independents.  In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinski advised that: “the end justifies almost any means” and “pick a target, freeze it and polarize it” blows away any spirit compromise.  Thus  the Issa-lation continues.

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