Hayes: GOP subpoena power will make you miss Ken Starr
If Republicans take over the House in November, investigations of the Obama administration will pale in comparison to the investigations of the Clinton administration, according to The Nation‘s Chris Hayes.
Guest-hosting for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday, Hayes noted that a Republican running for Governor in Colorado has called for President Barack Obama’s impeachment and suggested he won’t be the last if Democrats lose the House.
Tom Tancredo penned an op-ed in The Washington Times making the case to impeach Obama. “Mr. Obama is a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda,” he wrote.
“It is increasingly clear the Republican governing strategy should the party win back one or both houses of Congress this fall can best be described as Clinton era-esque and then some,” said Hayes.
In what could be a sign of things to come, Republicans wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week demanding an investigation into the Justice Department’s decision not pursue a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther party.
A Bush-era appointee to the Commission on Civil Rights has described the calls for investigations as a tactic. “This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration,” former vice chairwoman Abigail Thernstrom told Politico last week.
“My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” said Thernstrom.
But it’s Rep. Darryl Issa that will be the point man for demanding investigations should Republicans take the House. Politico reported:
Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama.
At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.
“That will make all the difference in the world,” he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. “I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”
In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.
Michele Bachmann has also given some insight into what Republican thinking will be should they be victorious in November. “I think all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another and expose all the nonsense that has gone on,” Bachmann told the GOP Youth Convention last Thursday.
“Remember how awesome the Clinton years were?” Hayes asked sarcastically. “The $2 million Arkansas project launched by a conservative magazine to take President Clinton down? Whitewater, Ken Starr, Trooper-gate? The conspiracy theory that President Clinton was running drugs out of an airstrip in Arkansas? Yes, the bad old days.”
“Now, Congressional oversight is good for democracy. It is crucial, in fact. And when Darrell Issa demanded Treasury release documents related to the bailout of AIG, I cheered,” explained Hayes.
“But oversight and witch hunts are two very, very different things. And the Republican Party today is way more influenced by its kook-end fringe than it was during the days of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, hard as that may be to believe,” he continued.
“So if you like the impeach, investigate, subpoena approach of the 1990s, which slowed and/or stopped the function of the government, then no need to hop in your own hot tub time machine. Just watch what we’re in for if the GOP regains Congress in the midterms. I guarantee you it will actually make you miss Ken Starr,” Hayes concluded.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast July 26, 2010.