As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama to Get Lots of Nice Oversight

One of the mostly overlooked real-healthy-for-Democracy results of the House Republican landslide will be the new power of the GOP to look over President Obama’s shoulder as he conducts his business.

The Party that runs the House or the Senate also has the power to appoint the chairmen of the committees and stack the panels with a majority of their members. But perhaps even more importantly, they get more money than the other Party to hire staff. The House Democratic staff dwindles, while the GOP gets all sorts of bright and eager young things to start producing legislation – and squirrel around in the Obama administration’s business.

AND THEY HAVE TO POWER TO SUBPOENA. Obama’s minions must testify.

Well, most of them. Those who work in the White House are technically immune from the call of Congress. But the White House can’t really carry out policies without the various agencies, which develop White House ideas and implement them, so most of what gets decided in the White House can be probed by calling people from the departments to speak.

According to a piece today in POLITICO, incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is planning nearly 300 hearings by his full committee and its subcommittees.

But that’s only the beginning. Each of the other committees covering defense, the environment, education, transportation and so forth will be staging their own investigations and oversight of what’s going on in Obamaland.

This will have a massive impact on the White House. Here are some of the ways:

1. White House officials and their appointees in the agencies are going to have to be much more careful about what they do and be sure they can justify it in the public arena. Quiet or secretive efforts that might not be so popular, like the EPA writing of carbon emissions regulations, will now become public spectacle. With an eye on his reelection, this may force President Obama to curl back or not commence initiatives that will get voters pissed off.

2. No more cutting corners or illegal activity. This White House has been remarkably scandal free. But part of this might be due to the lack of oversight, from Congress and the press. There’s always a bad apple in a senior position somewhere in any administration. Now, the temptations to get up to no good will be easier to resist.

3. White House officials will have to spend more time justifying and defending themselves, and less time making policy. From a Republican perspective, this keeps them out of mischief. Word is that White House Legislative Affairs Director Phil Schilliro may be tasked to steer the investigation response operation along with White House Counsel Bob Bauer. This makes sense, since Schilliro was a longtime chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) who staged his own legendary probes as chairman of a couple f House committees, including the Oversight panel.

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11 Responses to Obama to Get Lots of Nice Oversight

  1. One very important committee that many observers have overlooked is the House financial services committee. Barney ‘the lisper’ Frank is out and in his place the mostly logical committee head is Ron Paul. While he can not demand Fed or FOMC reform, the oversight and power to hold hearings into Fed policy are powerful.

    As Paul has frequently stated, he wants a full audit of Fed activities and I for one sincerely hope he does become the new committee chairman and does get a full audit of the FRB. The shenanigans and monetization of debt they are pulling now borders on criminal and deserves full exposure for what it is; a scam at taxpayer expense to debase the dollar.

    • Dennis – I agree – I’m so tired of the Fed acting like Tammany Hall. Where is it in the Constitution that there’s a fourth branch of government run by philosopher kings and responsible to no one?

  2. Oversight is a good thing — when it is not used simply to obstruct. When one parety says that it’s goal is to “make the president a one-termer” rather than to do what’s best for the country, one wonders if they will use their powers to get positive results. In the “good old days” one party recognized that, when the other won, it had a right to make appointments. Now even that right has been taken away. Would it really be too much to ask that all our elected officials learn once again to accept the results of elections and then work to convince a majority (not a super majority) that their prposals are best for the country WITHOUT preventing all action?

    • The “good old days” pretty much ended after the contentious 2000 presidential election, IMO. Since then it seems the party not in power does whatever it can to stymie the party in power just because they feel there’s some illegitimacy in the claim to actually run things, whether they have a case for it or not. NAFTA and welfare reform were two huge pieces of generally bipartisan legislation that came out of the 90s. Has anything that’s come in the last 10 years been anywhere close to that bipartisan? Besides the invasion of Iraq I can’t think of anything.

      Until attitudes change about who has a right to do what this is the political world we live in…

  3. After being shut out, beat up, abused and accused by the O administration, the natural flow of get-even-politics seems to be in the subpoena power. Assuming that some heads will roll down the hallway, that the DOJ will be forced to investigate something/someone, and some regulations will be erased, the end result: the public will still be disgusted with the DC operatives on both sides.

    Like the man said; ‘get out the popcorn’.

  4. I am not onboard with the Monkey God and Satan thing–those are different from each other, are they not? Still, we did read about santeria from grandma or something, didn’t we? This is getting a little fringe-y. I am more in the narcissist-someone-is-backing-him camp.

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