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Recipe for a stalemate

Republicans in Congress may not have received the complete landslide they wanted in last week’s midterm election, but that isn’t stopping some legislators from acting like they now have a mandate to roll back reforms and make sweeping changes in government.

A case in point made political waves this week when Congressman Darrell Issa of California said he plans to initiate “seven hearings a week times 40 weeks” of the Obama administration now that the GOP has a majority in the House of Resentatives. Issa, who fancies himself a fiscal watchdog, has said he wants to shrink the size of government by creating numerous new subcommittees and launching investigations of everything from stimulus spending to health-care reform.

Last month, on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, Issa called President Barack Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times,” setting off a firestorm of criticism from all different directions. Issa backtracked on that comment this week, telling ABC News, “I am not saying that the president is personally corrupt. But his administration has to change direction particularly as to taxpayer money.”

Issa’s foolish remarks and weak attempt at an apology show that he is yet another morally bankrupt politician who is willing to do anything he can — including using manufactured hostility — to destroy the other party, regardless of whether or not it is good for his country. Fueled by Tea Party rhetoric, he is one of many politicians who seem to believe they now have enough control in Congress to unilaterally get their way.

Issa and others in his party have made it one of their primary missions to dismantle health-care reforms that were achieved during President Obama’s first year in office, using the debunked rhetoric that reforms amount to job-killing socialism. In the meantime, any potential wrongdoings by Republicans (Iraq, Guantanamo, torture) are still being swept under the rug.

Pundits are already predicting two years of gridlock, beginning when the 112th Congress convenes in January, and the predictions sound correct. Republicans do have control of the House of Representatives, but if they cause widespread consternation there, they should not expect much help from the Democratically controlled Senate. House bills supported by Republicans will have serious difficulty seeing the light of day in the Senate, and a stalemate is likely to ensue.

If that’s what Republicans like Issa want, they should continue spouting their ugly ideas in public, where at least the court of public opinion can offer an honest response. In practice, it is merely a recipe for a stalemate.

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