Issa Enterprises responds. Sort of.
A week ago, Courage founder and chair Rick Jacobs wrote an OpEd in the San Diego Union-Tribune
questioning Darrell Issa's commitment to the serious, non-partisan oversight that our government needs. In fact, it echoed the concerns of the U-T's own editorial board, who worried in January that Issa was undermining his own credibility
even before beginning his work as chair of the Oversight Committee.
Issa didn't reply directly to the concerns that Rick Jacobs raised. Instead, the chair of the San Diego Republican Party was dispatched to defend Issa. Sort of
. I say sort of, because he doesn't actually defend Issa at all.
Meanwhile, there's plenty of criticism of President Obama. There's criticism of the Troubled Asset Relief Program that Issa is seeking to de-fund and replace with nothing. There's criticism of Courage Campaign for not having objected to a substantively different but topically similar hearing on TARP when Democrats led the committee. Heck, there's even a criticism of projects like IssaWatch -- conceived and implemented after the November election -- for not having had an impact on the November election. Anything at all to avoid actually talking about Issa's record.
Even more telling is what's missing. There's nothing explaining why it would be a bad thing for Darrell Issa to disclose his dealings with lobbyists, especially since he's sought out corporate interests to shape his committee's agenda. There's no response to concerns that hearings and investigations thus far have been brazenly partisan, stacked to reach a pre-determined outcome, and have amounted to little but taxpayer-funded theatre to support Darrell Issa's far-right agenda. Instead, this is the same, tired rhetoric that Issa Enterprises has trafficked in for years. Don't even attempt to address the substance of the issues in question, just attack in the hopes of poisoning the well of spirited debate. Don't attempt to justify the hyperbolic rhetoric or the transparently one-sided investigations. Rather, keep insisting that no one has standing to criticize.
It's sadly appropriate perhaps that Issa Enterprises chose San Diego Republican Party chair Tony Krvaric to provide the response in this case. The concern of Rick Jacobs in his OpEd -- and the IssaWatch project every day -- is that Issa is more concerned about a partisan agenda than responsible, dispassionate oversight. Tony Krvaric meanwhile is fond
of telling the world
(and me in particular) that he's "not in the debate business. [He's] in the defeat liberals business." Plus, he's still got a few
accountability issues of his own
outstanding. Hardly the stuff that makes a credible defender of responsible oversight, and far from a credible critic of imagined partisan bias.
Since Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella has bragged publicly
about his ability to plant stories nearly full-cloth in the media, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise to see the chair of the San Diego Republican Party offering a response letter that reads like it came straight from the Issa Enterprises communications shop. But it isn't as though Issa, Bardella and the rest of the Issa Enterprises team invented this strategy. Attacking from weakness was Karl Rove's favorite campaign strategy with George W. Bush and drove the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry in 2004. It's the same fundamental messaging strategy that germinates at the Koch Brothers billionaire caucuses and gets passed along through Glenn Beck, through think tanks, through talking heads, and all the way down to local party chairs.
At IssaWatch, we're still committed to pressing for the oversight that our government needs. And we continue to hope that Darrell Issa will come around.