MEAN OL’ DEMOCRATS….Boo hoo. The poor White House was able to go six years without any administration oversight or accountability at all, voters got tired of it, elected a Democratic Congress, and all of a sudden, some checks and balances have returned to Washington.
The Bush gang has decided to whine about it.
Bush spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters during the daily briefing that the White House has been subject to an average of about six oversight hearings a day since Democrats took control of Congress. In that time, he added, the administration has turned over 200,000 pages of documents.
Said Stanzel: “I would raise those issues because it raises the question, what does Congress want to do? Do they want to pass legislation for the American people or would they rather investigate and have politics be the course of the day?”
Fascinating, isn’t it? The White House engages in legally dubious conduct, Congress decides to fulfill its oversight responsibilities by asking a few questions, and the next thing you know, Team Bush wants those mean ol’ Dems to stop being such brutes.
That said, let’s unpack this a little. First, there’s reason for some skepticism about Stanzel’s assertion about 600 hearings in 100 days. Harry Reid’s office said Stanzel’s numbers “are as faulty as the intelligence they used to make their case for war.”
Second, this might surprise a White House that never quite got the hang of governing, but Congress is capable of conducting oversight and passing legislation. I realize it’s been a while since political observers have seen a functioning legislative branch, but if the Senate GOP would stop blocking every thing that moved, we’d see a Congress that can pass bills and offer accountability at the same time.
And third, I don’t know what’s Texan for “chutzpah,” but Republicans have a lot of nerve complaining about Dems holding a few oversight hearings.
Over the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the House Government Reform Committee, led by Dan Burton (R-Ind.) unilaterally issued 1,089 subpoenas to investigate allegations of misconduct involving the Clinton Administration and the Democratic Party. Or, put another way, House Republicans issued a politically-inspired subpoena every other day for six consecutive years, including weekends, holidays, and congressional recesses.
And now the Bush White House is crying like a child about congressional Dems being big meanies. Why? Because they’ve held some oversight hearings for the first time in Bush’s presidency.
It’d be amusing if it weren’t so pathetic.