By Doug Porter
San Diego’s own Congressman Darrell Issa is making headlines nationally this morning, but not in the way that the local daily paper would like you to believe.
The June 3rd UT-San Diego has a Page Two story up featuring a picture featuring Issa holding up a piece of paper, with a caption that says “interviews with employees at the Cincinnati IRS office indicate they were directed by Washington to target conservative groups.”
The north county’s answer to Joe McCarthy went on CNN Sunday morning to tout his latest ‘evidence’, which turned out to be highly edited selections from staff interviews with IRS agents. Politically correspondent Cindy Crowley called Issa’s bluff, actually reading the documents and pointing out that they proved nothing.
From Think Progress:
In fact, after hearing Crowley read the transcript of an interview, Issa himself admitted that he has yet to uncover evidence that demonstrates IRS coordination with Washington.
Issa also used his Sunday morning talking head time to brand current administration spokesman Jay Carney as a “paid liar.” (Well, duh, isn’t that what all spokesmen could be called?).
Former Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs went on Monday’s MSNBC Morning Joe to defend Carney:
“I mean, it’s a stunning thing,” Gibbs said of Issa’s charges. “It’s why five people in this town take Darrell Issa seriously and it’s the surest bet the Republicans are very much on the verge of overplaying their hand publicly and the American people will lose interest in their side of this. They want to see the IRS cleaned up, but they will understand quickly that Darrell Issa is doing nothing more than politicizing this event.”
The GOP spinmeisters, as evidenced by today’s UT-San Diego coverage, are trumpeting a ‘new’ report on IRS spending for conferences. This is old news, being pumped up as a new revelation. Buried in the Associated Press account in today’s paper is the information that the IRS has already reduced such spending from $37.6 million in 2010 to $4.9 million in 2012. None-the-less a $50 million figure is making the headlines, a figure achieved by lumping together three years worth of spending.
Unnoticed by the local press is the fact that these high-ticket ‘improvement, leadership and efficiency’ conferences are the kind of ‘business’ enterprises that made local conservative hero Carl DeMaio wealthy.
Columnist Andrew Sullivan has decided that he’s had enough of the Congressman’s antics and penned a full frontal assault on his credibility, reprinting large sections of stories in the New Yorker and NPR that allege a past criminal (grand theft auto and arson) activity by Issa. From The Dish:
But if you apply the standards of evidence Issa uses to indict the president – pure innuendo, speculation and smears – then you can fairly say that Issa was a likely car thief, con-man, and arsonist. Having figured out how to steal cars, he then repurposed his expertise to set up a company to prevent car theft. In the end, it made him a multi-millionaire. And former crook.
This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s daily column at San Diego Free Press.