Is ‘deranged’ still an option?

IS ‘DERANGED’ STILL AN OPTION?…. Just a few month ago, shortly before the midterm elections, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Rush Limbaugh he considers President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Soon after, the Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus noted, “If Issa believes this, he is deranged. If he doesn’t and is saying it anyway, he is dangerous.”

A month later, pressed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Issa walked it back.

Yesterday, Issa returned to his original, deranged point, but broadened the scope.

The incoming House Oversight and Government Reform chairman on Sunday tried to clarify his recent remarks to Rush Limbaugh where he called President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”

Rep. Darrell Issa said he meant to say the Obama administration instead of the president.

Well, in that case, Issa seems entirely reasonable, right? How silly of me to think the right-wing Californian, perhaps best known as an alleged car thief who lied about his military background, might be less than sensible about his partisan hatred of the president.

To justify his allegations of corruption, Issa told CNN yesterday, “In saying that this is one of the most corrupt administrations, which is what I meant to say there, when you hand out $1 trillion in TARP just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect.”

As is too often the case, Issa is deeply confused. First, the TARP bailout was a Bush administration proposal supported by the Republican leadership in both chambers. The Obama administration made sure American taxpayers were paid back, and lowered TARP’s price tag to almost zero. If Issa sees this as evidence of “corruption,” someone should have bought him a dictionary for Christmas.

Second, the stimulus wasn’t $1 trillion — I wish it had been — and there was nothing corrupt about it. Similarly, arguing that health care reform has a “corrupting effect” doesn’t make any sense if the effect of the law features no corruption.

For Issa, who’s never been accused of being the sharpest crayon in the box, it seems “corrupt” is another word for “stuff I don’t like.” Given that Issa will have expansive subpoena power starting in a few days, that’s not exactly encouraging.

Despite all of this, much of the political establishment will still ask incredulously why President Obama can’t generate more bipartisan support.