The bellicose California Republican has done his best to bolster the wily repute of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by working the past four years as a kind of dark-arts gardener, clipping the petals off Obama’s roses while sharpening the thorns, all in the hope of ensnaring the administration in scandal.
Under Issa’s watch, the committee has subpoenaed the Obama White House more than 100 times, served as ground zero for the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and sparked inquiries that led to House votes holding former IRS Director Lois Lerner and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The committee also has developed many reports and hearings on implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) programs.
Has he been a success? Sure, if your aim is filling airtime on cable news shows, churning the conservative base and doing your best to advance the downward spiral of presidential approval. And as he steps down due to Republican-imposed term limits on committee leadership posts, there are plenty of candidates to succeed him. Here’s who is best positioned to do that, on our scale of one to five Issas.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz: 4 Issas
The 47-year-old former placekicker for the Brigham Young University football team has pledged to carry on the committee’s investigations of Benghazi and the IRS and has proven himself as media-savvy as Issa.
Most memorably, he got then-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson to deny the existence of any security breaches related to Obama that the president hadn’t been informed about. Just hours later, news broke of a security breach that Obama didn’t know about. Pierson resigned the next day.
“We’re going to have some high-octane disagreements, no doubt,” Chaffetz said in an interview. But we have to knock the prospective new chairman down at least one full Issa after insisting he wants to avoid the high-profile spats that flared between the current chairman and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the panel.
“I would be aggressive, but I don’t want it to be personal,” Chaffetz said. “I want to be able to put my arm around him and have a Diet Coke afterwards. I’m from Utah. That’s what we do.”
Rep. Mike Turner: 3 Issas