Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is a "demagogic Republican" whose partisan handling of the IRS scandal is a throwback to Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous Communist witch hunt, says National Journal Editorial Director Ron Fournier.
Writing in the Journal
, Fournier said the California Republican could turn out to be the "best friend of a controversy-plagued Democratic White House" with his overblown accusations of wrongdoing based on tenuous evidence from interview transcripts of IRS agents.
He pointed to recent comments Issa made during an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, during which he called White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a "paid liar" but couldn't explain why.
"In one brief and repugnant interview, the GOP's chief congressional investigator into Internal Revenue Service abuses cherry-picked evidence, overstated his case, and violated the sacred American principle of presumed innocence," Fournier wrote.
He called Issa's conduct "a reminder of how the GOP overreached during the Clinton-era sex scandal."
"Issa," he added, "doesn't seem capable of letting damning facts speak for themselves."
Fournier also condemned what he called Issa’s use of "weasel phrases" to couch his accusations and assumptions about White House wrongdoing that he can't support.
"Do you hear history's echo? Sen. Joe McCarthy paved his way to infamy with 205 names," Fournier wrote.
Issa, he wrote, "might also want to realize that the president is swamped in self-inflicted controversies that raise questions of West Wing competence, if not corruption. We will soon know whether the IRS' targeting involved officials at the White House or President Obama's re-election campaign. The flames don't need Issa's toxic fuel."
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