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Will Darrell Issa wreck the GOP?

Yes, that headline's a bit much -- thank you for clicking on it. But that was my first read of this great enterprise story by James Hohmann and Jake Sherman, who followed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to a speech in Pennsylvania and heard him loosen up about his plans to take command of the House Government Reform & Oversight Committee and "use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing."

He basked in praise for his role in creating “Job-gate,” a mini scandal that forced the White House to admit that former President Bill Clinton tried to coax Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania by offering him an unpaid job. After calling the White House “corrupt” and Obama’s presidency “failed,” Issa reiterated his claims that — despite a contrary assessment from most experts — the administration violated federal law with the Sestak imbroglio.

Let me just repeat something a few conservatives who were active during the Clinton years have told me. If Republicans win the House, it will be because voters grew disgusted with the Democrats' priorities during a deep recession -- why spend so much time on health care, cap-and-trade and the rest of it instead of job creation? Why not focus, as Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) likes to say, on "jobs, jobs, jobs"?

The Obama administration simply hasn't been dogged by scandals the way that the Clinton administration was. Many conservatives believe that it should be. They point to the unresolved (but resolving in a Chicago courtroom right now) questions over what ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) told members of the administration, why the DOJ didn't pursue a case against the New Black Panther Party, why an Americorps inspector general was fired, and precisely what was offered to some U.S. Senate candidates in order to get them out of their races. Have these stories failed to take off only because Republicans don't have subpoena power? Perhaps. But it's hard to imagine a scenario where an electorate, angry about the economy, hands Republicans the reins of power, and endorses a series of fishing expeditions about scandals that ("jobgate" aside) never got much traction outside of the Washington Times.

By David Weigel  |  June 18, 2010; 8:49 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Conservatives  
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Next: 'You believe the Harry Reid lie'

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