Who’s Chairing the House Oversight Committee: Good Darrell or Bad Darrell?

By Richard Thayer

Next week our attention will shift from earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms — natural disasters — to a man-made disaster: Congress.

Yes, our representatives, after a long, well-deserved vacation, will be returning to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, taking up, no doubt, where they left off: bickering over how best to fix our tanking economy. The kafuffle over the best time for the president to speak next week, is only a harbinger of things to come. And, alas, they are decidedly not good things for you and me — Main Street, USA.

No doubt a lot of attention will once again focus on the key players in our DC soap opera: President Obama, Rep. John Boehner, and Senator Eric Cantor. But for those of us who are either postal employees or retired postal employees, it would behoove us to keep our eyes on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif). Why? Because Mr. Issa wants to take away everything you have worked for: your fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, your health benefits, and your pension (should you be employed long enough to reach retirement age).

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the article I wrote directly below this one, was the first in a series that I’ll be doing focusing on Mr. Issa and the plans he has for you and me.

For starters, let’s go back to the fall of 2010, late October, as our country rapidly approached mid-term elections and high expectations for the future. Specifically, let’s look at an article written by Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post.The article, entitled “Which Darrell Issa would run House oversight panel?” posits that there are actually two Darrell Issas, two personalities inhabiting one body. There is, she observes, a Good Darrell and a Bad Darrell, and she wonders pre-midterm, that if the GOP regains control of the House, and he becomes chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which Issa will eventually predominate?

For her example of both Issas in action, she excerpts two interviews done with him over a span of eight days. In the October 11, 2010 USA Today interview, the Good Darrell shows up and is quoted as saying, “Oversight is not and should not be used as a political weapon against the occupant of the Oval Office. It should not be an instrument of fear or the exclusive domain of the party that controls Congress.”

Then, several days later, on October 19, the Bad Darrell says to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, “You know, there will be a certain degree of gridlock as the president adjusts to the fact that he has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”

Says Marcus in her article, “If Issa believes this, he is deranged. If he doesn’t and is saying it anyway, he is dangerous.”

She concludes that it’s probably the latter of the two. Personally, I believe it’s a combination of both.

Tellingly, Marcus observes back in October of last year, nearly a year ago, that
“Issa’s larger record does not foretell restraint. His modus operandi has too
often been to accuse first–and keep accusing even in the absence of supporting

Mark those last few words because I’ll be coming back to them in later posts: “keep accusing even in the absence of supporting evidence.”

Issa’s attack on you and me and our current or past employer–the United States Postal Service–began in earnest back in April of this year when he and his committee raked the USPS and the president of the APWU over the coals because they had reached a contractual agreement without arbitration. It was unprecedented, especially coming from a group that had vowed less government intervention coming into the 2010 midterm elections. I found it frightening and galling at the same time.

This past week, Mr. Issa took his campaign to privatize the Postal Service to a new level with the launch of a tax-payer funded propaganda website advocating the gutting of the Postal Service. If you’re an employee of the Postal Service, or a retiree, or a customer, this should make you angry. And it should make you pro-active. It should make you get on the phone and on the web and voice your opposition to Issa’s plans for destroying the Postal Service.

To contact Issa’s office, go here.

To contact your representative, go here.

To learn how you can play a part in saving the Postal Service, go here.

To be continued…


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