Darrell Issa is the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and he's promised to use his power to take an in-depth look into what exactly the Obama Administration has been up to behind the scenes. In an October blog post here, I mentioned Issa's stated intention to do this once the new Congress was in session, and I speculated about the extent to which the Obama-friendly media might go towards distracting attention from his investigations by focusing attention on Issa himself.
Not exactly an amazing prediction there, but it seems that it is beginning to come true only weeks after the turnover of power in the House. In the latest New Yorker magazine, Ryan Lizza gives us a profile of a congressman with quite a few admirable qualities and accomplishments, and also a bit of a past. Earlier this week I listened to an interview of Lizza on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. Hewitt spoke highly of Lizza's journalistic abilities and general fairness, and in the interview Lizza did seem to me to be reasonable enough.
It turns out that in his younger days and on the way to making millions selling car alarms, Issa and his juvenile delinquent older brother got themselves into a few situations involving cars that attracted police attention; and he played a little hardball with his early business associates, part of which may have involved showing off a pistol. Probably the worst of it is a fire at his car alarm factory that may have been a case of arson, in the aftermath of which there was a lot of bad blood and accusations between Issa and his former business associates (though no criminal charges were ever brought against any of them). From what I read in the article, I don't see how it would have been in Issa's interest to burn the factory down, but all I really know about arson is what I've seen on shows like Kojak.
At this point all this is over 20 years in the past, and has been brought out before the voters in Issa's previous campaigns in California. If I read Lizza's article correctly it seems the colorful part of Issa's life is now behind him, and he has in the last two decades been cleanly pursuing the life of a successful businessman and politician. The Lizza article isn't an attack piece, but I suppose it does provide a road map for anyone who might want to attack Issa in the future if his inquiries do root out anything troublesome to the Administration. Certainly the likes of Bill Maher or the harpies on The View will gladly seize on this sort of thing if Issa becomes controversial.
So we'll see soon enough what investigations Issa has chosen to undertake. What the reaction of the left and its sympathizers in the media will be is still up in the air. If things heat up, I think Issa would be wise to expect anything up to and including the sort of fury we saw in the past two weeks after the shootings in Tucson.