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The acrimony and partisanship are just getting started

By Greg Sargent

With Darrell Issa claiming he wants Republicans to hold hundreds of hearings on the Obama administration, Rasmussen releases a poll finding the public almost exactly divided on what's to come, though the public leans slightly against investigations:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that 40% favor House GOP intentions to investigate the past actions of the current administration. Forty-four percent (44%) oppose such investigations, while 16% are not sure about them.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of Republican voters approve of the investigation plans, but 72% of Democrats are opposed to them. Voters not affiliated with either party are almost evenly divided over the idea.

Among all voters, 43% say House GOP plans to investigate are more about partisan policies than in making sure inappropriate or illegal things don't happen again. An identical 43% think the plans are intended to make sure wrong things don't reoccur.

I'm not sure folks appreciate just how acrimonious things are going to get next year, when the GOP investigations start in earnest and the spin war over their meaning gets underway -- all in the context of an unfolding presidential race. As you can see, rank and file Republicans really want results -- a whopping two thirds supports plans to investigate.

Issa, for his part, is sending mixed signals about how partisan and aggressive an investigatory regime the House GOP is going to implement. So that's in flux. And with the public almost exactly divided over the wisdom of the probes and the motives behind them, there's room for either side to gain ground in the P.R. battle over what's to come.

Rough weather ahead. Guess we'll find out soon enough if the Captain is up to it.

By Greg Sargent  | November 9, 2010; 3:21 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, House GOPers  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup


Obama asked the IL Atty Gen to run and she refused. He had no interest in Alexi running as he knew abt his baggage. Something that you evidently haven't figured out abt Obama is he really doesn't care abt "friends from Chicago".....he only cares abt winning, period. He ran independent of the Chicago machine for IL State Senate b/c of the makeup of the district he lived in. They normally pick new candidates with no ties to the Machine. He's never been close to Daley or the machine whether you believe he is or not. I lived there at the time. The Machine always resented him in his early yrs.

Posted by: carolerae48 | November 9, 2010 3:14 PM


This is a pack of lies.

One does not get a gerrymandered black-majority seat for State Senate without the Chicago machine.

In addition, Emil Jones took Obama under his wing - Emil Jones is not part of the Chicago machine?

In addition, Tony Reszko is not part of the Chicago machine???

In addition, how did Michele Obama end up with a six-figure job at the hospital without the Chicago machine, a job created for her, and eliminated when she left? Doesn't seem like the hospital ever needed that position filled?

How did Daley pick Obama to speak as keynote speaker at the Convention in 2004, if the Chicago machine did not like him???

Your comment has zero basis in fact.

Gianoulis had Obama campaign for him.

And what about ACORN, they didn't take Obama on?

Your comment is ridiculous.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Who is the Captain?

Is that your new name for Obama?

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter, but I basically agree with the investigative powers of Congress and I don't begrudge Darrell Issa running investigations. I think his motives for doing this are entirely partisan and I think that as long as the economy remains tepid, the public is going to have very limited appetite for this sort of thing. But, nevertheless, let the daylight in. I trust that Obama can handle it.

Posted by: klautsack | November 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason the Iron Lady should be Minority Leader.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Some things should be investigated. Not necessasarily as a gotcha, but in the interest of rooting out problems.

I would like to see the DOJ investigated. During the Bush years the left whined incessantly about the politicization of this department yet now the stories emanating from DOJ are ugly.

I would like to see the entire HHS department grilled like like an albacore tuna steak. Time for Ms Sebelius to stop intimidating ordinary Americans and start 'splaining how Obamacare will be brought into being. how many times does the phrase "the secretary shall" appear in the bill? what's the plan. I believe that absent investigations the HHS secretary won't say a word, we'll read about it in the Federal Register when it is too late to respond.

I'd also like to see the EPA go through the wringer. This agency has enormous unfettered power and the people must bring it to heel soon. Investigations, hearings, funding cut discussions are all part of the rifle shots that we need to stop this unaccountable freight train before it destroys our economy.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's start with Fan and Fred. That should keep him busy for a while.

Posted by: sold2u | November 9, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse


I agree. Investigate the EPA. And show how they've been using kid gloves with industries for years. They have a regulatory job to do. Just because Bush didn't believe in regulation doesn't mean the rest of us don't.

Posted by: klautsack | November 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

ChuckInDenton -- good call.

Posted by: sargegreg | November 9, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The democrats have been investigating for years - and making political hay out of this and that.

At this point, it is fair game for the Republicans to take things out of the democratic play-book.

Remember from the 1950s until now, the democrats have had the House for all but 12 years.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Nancy Pelosi. Very sweet woman.

Keep her on.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Orangeforces: you must have amnesia. The right wing investigations of the Clintons were miserable--and why I think that Obama and Pelosi agreed there'd be no impeachment hearings for Bush and Co....even though many of us believe he and Cheney are guilty of war crimes.

Posted by: LAB2 | November 9, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Partisanship never ended, how could it just be getting started?

Everyone I know was attacking Bush Cheney all day every day. Since then the right has been attacking Obama all day every day. This is a matter of life and death, it isn't a day at the race track.

That said, Republicans know the House majority is just a better platform from which to heckle the administration. They want the White House, who doesn't? But from now on it is not a matter of going toe to toe in the House, that is a battlefield that favors Rs and firing at Nancy is just too easy. After all, she can't hurt them, but they can use her to hurt Obama. Better to rope a dope in that venue.

It is all on Obama now, he either sells his Presidency, his economic agenda from this point forward, or he can kiss it good bye.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 9, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

LAB2 | November 9, 2010 4:01 PM

Congress passed a War Resolution.

29 democratic Senators voted for the war in Iraq.

The democrats, if they all stuck together, could have stopped the Iraq war with a filibuster.

So there was never any basis to impeach Bush - regardless of the silly rhetoric you may have heard.

Let Issa investigate all he wants. Obama should be doing everything right to begin with.

Obama should begin by releasing the file in Hawaii - just to start things off.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The GOP never learns anything. They investigated Clinton and even impeached him, and they lost seats in the 1998 election. Clinton left the Presidency with much higher ratings than either Bush.

I cannot believe that people want the government tied up in investigations rather than focusing on the ecopnomy, energy, global wearming and our other problems. This is all just code-speak for letting the rich loot the rest of us.

No wonder GE is investing in China and not the US. We don't want them with all their clean energy projects. Not for us! Give the jobs to China!

Posted by: Mimikatz | November 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse


Obama and the democrats should have nothing to hide. Everything should have been done right the first time.

There are over 100 letters from Issa requesting information that Obama has ignored.


I think not.

Obama should have been up-front, and answered all those letters with the full information requested for the past two years.

There should be no tolerance on abuse of government.

The democrats should have nothing to hide, and the democrats should not oppose any investigations. Just open up everything. All the files. Produce all the documents.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see what happens if the House GOP tries to subpoena White House staff. The Bushies took the position that "executive privilege" protected White House staff from responding to any subpoena to appear before Congress, not just from having to answer questions about discussions with the President. Will Obama make the same assertion of privilege? Will the Republicans support that assertion of privilege, as they did when a Republican occupied the Oval Office?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw1 at 4:18 PM

What did Obama say about Bush's assertions of "executive privilege" at the time ???

So many of Obama's words are coming back to hurt him.

It is laughable.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm still chuckling over skip's turn of phrase "grilled like an albacore tuna steak"

Having said that, when will the "well the OTHER side did it, so it must be OK!" meme kick in. Specifically, I'm thinking about Speaker Pelosi's statements about not investigating all of the BushCo war crimes because we've got more important matters to take care of. It seems that only bad behavior is copied; rising above it all is *so* four years ago. . .

Posted by: Michigoose | November 9, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 -

I'm not sure I agree that the battlefield favors the GOP at this point. Sure they can heckle, as you call it, but people aren't going to put up with a Congress that does nothing but heckle. They haven to bring some ideas to the table. Yeah, I know, tax cuts. But then what? Besides, I think Obama excels at selling himself in the face of adversity. When the Democrats were totally in control of Washington (at least ostensibly), there was this sense that it was entirely up to them. That's not the case anymore. And the GOP as currently configured is not an idea-generating machine.

Posted by: klautsack | November 9, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If I was running the WH press shop I'd step up the the podium each and every day and announce just how much Issa and his merry band of idiots had spent that day of the taxpayer's money on nonsense investigations.

I don't think the voting public will have much appetite for Issa and crew ginning up their fake investigations machine.

Posted by: lcrider1 | November 9, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

And the GOP as currently configured is not an idea-generating machine.

Posted by: klautsack

So wrong! When Obama suggested a Slurpee Summit, Boehner quickly countered with "merlot." Boehner can generate lots of ideas about drinking.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of govt investigations and transparency, this is too funny:

"Possibly the most important event of the vice president's day Tuesday is to meet at 2:15 with Earl Devaney. Everyone knows him as chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board -- the top guy monitoring the gazillion-dollar stimulus and the overdue economic recovery, and ensuring that the taxpayers financing same know all about it.

"However, no one outside the room will know what goes on in that Biden-Devaney meeting. That's because the government meeting on government transparency has been closed."

Posted by: sbj3 | November 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner is an idea-generating machine. He has many ideas on the following subjects:

(1) What are we going to drink?
(2) Where are we going to drink?
(3) When do we start drinking?
(4) Who are we going to be drinking with?

Admittedly, however, he never worries about "why" he should drink.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Why is it valid to use a poll of "likely voters" to assess the opinion of the public in general?

Posted by: QuiteAlarmed | November 9, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry I missed the Fannie and Freddie issue. Let's be sure that sunlight, the best disinfectant is shed on those two behemoths. the American taxpayers should know how their money was "used" by these organizations. We're on the hook for billions thanks to those two.

Yeah right, the EPA and kid gloves. Yeah, sure. in the meantime rational firms with choices for plant location will surely avoid America and all its idiotic regulations. I know that the lefties dream about "green" jobs, but even one of the biggest proponents of these jobs admits that they won't, in and off themselves, offset the losses we're experiencing now.

The biggest problem I have with the EPA, and the rest of the standing government for that matter is that CFR has the weight of law yet it is never voted for by the legislature. That has to end.

Kudos to Shrink2 for intellectual honesty. The bitter partisanship that the Democrats showed during the Bush Admin has set a tone for America today. I'm not saying "they did it so should we" I am saying that congressional oversight was a useful tool of the Democrats and should not be shunned by the Republicans in their turn. If the public has some legitimate concern let's bring sunlight to bear. If investigations, hearings and such can impede the advance of the unaccountable regulatory state, let's bring them on.

How many of us remember the horrible way that Bush's AG's were treated when the Dems got their majority. and how about Fitzmas? How soon the lefties here forget about that on going investigation that ulitmately ensnared a man few had ever heard of.

The Democrats should remember their own behavior and recognize that they essentially made the bed they must now lie in. If the Republicans somehow ignored the "lesson" of the Clinton sex scandal it is equally clear that the Democrats also suffer from the same amnesia.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 9, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Bingo. Well, it works for the GOP because likely voters likely for them: older, middle class whites.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse


So you are saying that Scooter by virtue of being "somone no-one had ever heard of" somehow makes that investigation worthless?
Gimme a break.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Greg: Can we put a daily limit on the number of times you link to the Media Matters Political Correction blog?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse


Please do not talk about Agent Orange that way

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 9, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

President Obama just cannot admit that his radical policies and their effects on the economy are the cause of his devastating political rebuke. For most of his press conference, an oddly depressed Obama voted present, as he all but said that the problems are mostly ours, not his — or at least not his agenda but perhaps an occasional inadequate communication.

In clingers fashion, he once more is talking down to us, explaining that we confused his necessary solutions with a bogeyman increase in big government, and so typically, in fright and ignorance, lashed out at his party. He is claiming the outrage grew from the same frustration that elected him, rather than arising precisely because of him and his agenda. In short, we are angry because his EU-socialist agenda is progressing too slowly and hasn’t delivered as promised — as it will in time. Perhaps then we will thank him for his proper big-government, big-spending solution.

He seems bewildered (for the first time?) that his popularity as a campaign rhetorician did not last when he became responsible for actual governance. For most of the press conference, a humbled but deer-in-the-headlights Obama half-heartedly argued that the populist outrage against his own massive debt, huge wasteful government, and elitism was really outrage against the economy he inherited, an outrage that he shares. We don’t know it, the president hints, but we are still angry at the Bush years, and yesterday mistakenly took our wrath out on Obama’s methodical, albeit too slow, efforts at recovery. In short, there was little admission whatsoever that Obama’s message and the way he pushed it turned off millions — there was no repentant Clinton, circa autumn 1994, here; instead, a shocked Obama who seems hurt that we do not appreciate him.

I don’t think the American people — who heard their president boast that Republicans had to sit in the back seat, and that Latinos should punish their Republican “enemies,” and who have now given him the greatest midterm putdown in over a half-century — suddenly will pay much attention to his calls for an end to the old divisiveness.

Posted by: leapin | November 9, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The investigation was worthless. The left hoped to bring down bush or Cheney and wound up with a conviction for perjury against someone few had heard of.

it was a waste of your emotions and waste of taxpayer funds.

The left never misses a chance to make the same point about the investigation into Clinton's pecadillos. What, all we discovered was that Clinton, the president mind you, perjured himself and had to give up his law license? And that was worthless?

Tell me, chuck, if you want a break, what would you like broken?

See what I'm saying here?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 9, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a crack skippy. The investigation didn't find out anything about alleged perjury of Clinton as that occurred in the course of the investigation.

Clinton should have done what Gary Condit did last week. None of your g-d business. If you don't like that, go to the House.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 9, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The implosion of the Obama administration is newsworthy, but not as astonishing as this petulant liberal reappraisal of both popular political participation and the structure of American government.

Given that the people apparently don't want bigger deficits, more stimulus, statist healthcare, cap-and-trade, or "comprehensive" immigration reform, and given that the most influential members of the Obama administration think the people either do or should want those things, we are apparently left with blaming George Bush, or self-righteously blaming the people for their stupidity, selfishness, brainwashing, or racism. Yet all of those assumptions only exacerbate the problem, and if continually voiced will be an abject disaster for Democrats.

Posted by: leapin | November 9, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Finally, Greg Sargent got something right:

A broken clock is right more often (especially this past Sunday morning ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 9, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse


Bingo. Well, it works for the GOP because likely voters likely for them: older, middle class whites.

If you voted for Obama to prove you weren't a racist, who will you vote for to prove you aren't stupid?

Posted by: leapin | November 9, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"even though many of us believe he and Cheney are guilty of war crimes."

Both Bush and Cheney have admitted to ordering torture. (Bush in his book and Cheney in several interviews.) Torture is a crime under both federal and international law. Bush and Cheney are criminals. They should be prosecuted.

It's pretty straight forward stuff. For the life of me, I'll never understand why Pelosi took it off the table. You know the Repubs would have never done such a thing.

Posted by: Alex3 | November 9, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"if continually voiced will be an abject disaster for Democrats."

No need to worry. The thousand year Republican reich hasn't started yet.

Posted by: Alex3 | November 9, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

what i dont understand is if you talk about how off rasmussen and other robo-pollers are, then why do you link to them? why do you use them to set up discussions. you are just as guilty as the guys peddling the false/off information.

Posted by: eriklontok | November 9, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse


Excuse me for picking nits, but Bush admitted to ordering WATERBOARDING, which he (and OLC) contend is not torture. Too bad!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 9, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse


That assumes that he is even legally President.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 9, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@ss28:stop this unaccountable freight train before it destroys our economy.

The dems are late again...Bush, boehner, and mcconnell beat them to it. They tanked the economy big time, over the 8 year period: no net job creation, stock market lost 35% of its value, housing values plummeted, the financial system teetered on collapse. It is a perversely impressive record.

Posted by: srw3 | November 9, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 9, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

With all the talk of war crimes in the blog do you think maybe Dick Durbin will rant on Gitmo soon? Seems that an elitist liberal run camp is perfectly alright or maybe Gitmo wasn’t the issue in the first place.

Posted by: leapin | November 9, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

klautsack, sorry to be tardy, its a lot o'work day. Awhile ago you mentioned a blog or something having to do with health care. It is pretty clear that is going to be a political football...the policy questions
"if not this then what?" are going to stay hot. Could you send up that link again here? The question of how to save money is the dodgiest, but it has to be confronted or the industry will bleed the country white.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 9, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse


You don't see the difference between a political vendetta vs. an independent investigation initiated by the CIA and the Republican AG?

I never brought up Clinton-you did. Back to Fitzmas: apparently Bush *himself* thought it needed to be followed to its conclusion. Yes, it became a cause celebre to the Left but had not one iota of influence on Fitzgerald.

Read "Anatomy of Deceit" by Marcy Wheeler. Good stuff.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

@ OF:Remember from the 1950s until now, the democrats have had the House for all but 12 years.

Its amazing how many totally non issues they were able to fit in those few years when clinton was president.

vince fosters death
and of course the entire whitewater debacle, impeachment, and acquittal.

Meanwhile, the dems were too lilly livered to actually investigate the Iraq debacle, the rendition and torture, etc.

The dems have no stomach for investigating Iraq and torture because too many conservative dems would also be implicated for following Bush's lead. The torture debacle was led by republicans but included some conservadems.

Posted by: srw3 | November 9, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg: Jake is at it again. 5:43 pm.

Alex: I'm with you on investigating Bush and more importantly Cheney--but was just saying that for those of us who lived in DC during the nonstop attacks on the Clintons was exhausting--and I think Pelosi and Obama were trying to push us all forward. I don't agree with it, but I can understand the reason.

Posted by: LAB2 | November 9, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@ss28: Outing a cia agent is pretty serious business. Libby was covering up, obstructing the investigation at every turn by lying to prosecutors. This is a bit worse than trying to cover up an affair between consenting adults.

@leapin: President Obama just cannot admit that his radical policies and their effects on the economy

Obama as a radical, its laughable. He is a centrist, he campaigned as a centrist, he governs as a centrist. The "transformative" HCR bill was patterned after the daschle, baker, dole (all closet extremist socialists, right?) and mirrors major parts of the 94 republican plan, which included the individual mandate.

Obama remains in the center, while republicans have established a colony in farrightwingnutistan.

Posted by: srw3 | November 9, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse


Thank you.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 9, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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