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Don’t Do What We Did, That’s Bad

January 3, 2011

Hey, if you were in power and used your position to intimidate your opponents, what would happen when you fell out of power?  Well, you’d obviously first tell your opponents that intimidating you is a bad idea, because it’s mean.  At least, that’s what’s happening now.

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is warning GOP leaders against partisan “witch hunts” when they take over the panel this year.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Sunday that such investigations might play well politically, but they ultimately undermine the bipartisanship required to tackle the many problems facing the country.

Rep. Darrell Issa is the new incoming chair, and he’s been making some noise for a while on all the things he’d like to investigate (via Politico).  Hot Air says he’s mostly trying to find places where he can get some bi-partisan momentum for now, though I’m sure he might get his dander up over something that leans right sooner rather than later.

Michelle Malkin says:

Issa and his staff have done stellar work exposing corruption and malfeasance while in the minority. Will they be able to live up to the Drudge-headlined hype now that they’ve got subpoena powers? Rule #1 in politics: Manage expectations. It’s a smart rule not only for politicians in the limelight, but also for voters.

But that’s not so bad.  It doesn’t hurt to work out a strategy for what to approach and communicate that clearly.  It matters more when you don’t meet your commitments.

All that said, the first point is still in question… is it okay to “witch hunt” in retaliation for the methods used on you in the past?  Well, it’s not all that useful to abandon tools that have worked on problems in the past.  And offering to take a closer look at various spending or dealmaking will likely tend to get people to be more honest about their intentions early.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and I’m sure there’s an aspect of payback that will happen.

The Republicans do have to remember that power is fleeting, and eventually the Democrats will be back in power.  Retaliation is not as fun when you’re on the receiving end.

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