Darrell Issa: A Study in Congressional Character
Anytime that a politician on our own side of the political fence gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar we cry out that character does not matter. For example, when Bill Clinton was caught in the Monica Lewinsky scandal he had a whole host of fans insisting that his personal life was of no relevance as long as he was doing his job as President. Rudy Giuliani was also accused of marital infidelity during his Presidential campaign, and his supporters protested that this was none of the voter’s business. Water under the bridge. Similar allegations have been thrown at Newt Gingrich, John McCain; the list goes on. During Bob Filner’s mayoral campaign down here in sunny San Diego his more devout supporters insisted it did not matter that he bullied baggage handlers at the airport to get head of the line privileges when he was a Congressman. Now that he is Mayor of San Diego Filner is under even more serious scrutiny for multiple sexual harassment allegations, but even now his hard core base insists that he remain as mayor. The moral I am trying to point out with these various examples is that when your guy does wrong everything is tolerable, but when the other side's candidate does the same thing we are right there with the mud bucket, ready to do some slinging.
Does Character Matter?
Another San Diego based politician, Congressman Darrell Issa of the 49th district, has a long laundry list of black marks against his character that have trailed him like an extra shadow ever since he threw his hat into the political arena. Apparently the majority of his constituency believe that these alleged blights on his character do not matter, because he ran a successful campaign to win the office he has served in since 2001, and has managed to hold on to it up until the present. Issa has ejxplained away his past sins to the satisfaction of the voters, who apparently do not hold him to high standards of conduct because they continue to reelect him.
To be fair to the people of the 49th, this writer believes that we all make mistakes and sometimes become wrongly associated with acts of malfeasance. Some of us are unfairly accused of a single act of wrongdoing that still clings to us even when we are cleared of it. Still others among us commit a brief burst of serious sins within a single time window of our wayward youth; but we quickly repent of it and change our ways. But when a person’s character is splattered with repeated crimes scattered over many years it seems to me that this isn’t mere immaturity, but is a sign of a grave character flaw. Where there is smoke, there is fire, as the saying goes.
But I, for one, believe that character does matter. Returning to the cases of Clinton, Gingrich, Giuliani etc., as a voter I am not convinced that their marital infidelity is none of my business. If a politician cheats on his wife, the woman he has taken a sacred vow of fidelity to, the woman he sleeps next to every night, am I really to believe that this politician will not also cheat on the anonymous electorate that is really just a series of poll numbers on a piece of paper? No, I believe that the infidelity carries over to the arena of official misconduct. Niccolo Machiavelli was a sixteenth philosopher who described a political being that was purposely unfaithful to those being governed; someone who was duplicitous in nature and approached politics cynically and pragmatically, rather than from a standpoint of trying to advance ethical or moral positions that would benefit the public. Many of today’s politicians are positively Machiavellian in their approach to politics, and the electorate that they swear fidelity to is only a faceless mass to be manipulated as needed. I think that this is especially true in the case of Darrell Issa, whose political character I intend to summarize here, in order to make a point about what an essential quality good character should be in our leaders.
Issa's Past History - A Synopsis
IIf you do a Google search of the item "Darrell Issa corruption" it returns very peculiar results that I think speak volumes about Issa's duplicitous character. Approximately half of the search items involve him fighting corruption in the IRS, the Benghazi incident, etc., while the other half are about him being involved in some sort of corrupt dealings. The truth is, practically from the time he reached adulthood Issa's past has been shadowed with corruption; being cluttered with disturbing incidents that, taken as a whole, seem to reveal an extremely dysfunctional personality.
In 1971, when Issa was 18 years old, he allegedly stole a Dodge Charger belonging to a man in his army unit. The car miraculously reappeared later when its owner threatened to inflict bodily harm upon its alleged thief. I have never stolen a car or even thought about it, but if Issa did commit this act I am willing to give him a pass, since he was only 18 years old at the time. The problem is that the dark deeds tagging along beside him don’t stop there.
In 1972 Issa was arrested with his older brother in Ohio and again accused of stealing a car, this time a Maserati. The case was eventually dismissed. It seems there were a lot of dismissed cases with Issa, which makes one wonder if even then he had political connections and personal protectors on high. It seems that when you have friends in high places you can get away with a lot. The rest of us are basically screwed.
Issa’s mysterious shadow of criminal behavior also popped up in the Golden State, again in conjunction with his brother. In San Jose the Issa brothers were accused by insurance investigators of selling Darrell's Mercedes sedan and then reporting it stolen. Then in 1981 Darrell was involved in a hit and run. Shortly after this he lent the proprietor of a company called Steal Stopper sixty thousand dollars, foreclosed on the loan after a late payment, and took over the company. What you call unethical behavior is what Issa calls entrepreneurial ability. To add to the diversity of his alleged sinister deeds, after taking control of the company Issa allegedly fired an employee by threatening him with a gun. I have to be careful to apply the word allegedly to these incidents because when you are a man in Issa's position you manage to get all of these accusations expunged from your record. I can't even get a traffic ticket expunged. I got a nasty letter from my homeowner's association for having my Christmas lights up until January 6th. You think I could get away with car theft or insurance fraud?
Tired of all this yet? Sorry, there's more. Keep in mind that Issa is growing longer in the tooth here, but “bad luck” in the form of these “false” allegations keeps following him around even though he is supposed to be getting older and wiser. Another case in point is when that same factory Issa acquired through his entrepreneurial genius mysteriously burned down in 1982. Issa claimed faulty electrical work, but an insurance company investigation found evidence of arson. It was discovered that Issa had increased his insurance policy on the factory more than fourfold before the blaze, and had also removed valuable items from the building beforehand.
Should I go continue with the story of how Issa allegedly concocted a story about how he was a part of Nixon’s crack security detail at the 1971 World Series, a World Series that Nixon never attended? Or how his campaign resume is filled with glowing reports about always receiving the highest possible conduct ratings in the Army, when in fact at one point he was pegged for unsatisfactory conduct and efficiency? Nah, I think you get the point by now.
Issa's response to these allegations is typical of those whose character is of a duplicitous nature. He blames shoddy, sloppy reporting by reporters who misinterpret his personal anecdotes as hard facts. He claims mistaken identity in the auto theft accusations, or the shady character of his “accusers,” who are mostly drunks of questionable character. He blames the fire department for the fire at his Steal Stopper factory. For just about everything else, he blames his brother. You won't find as much finger pointing in a room full of 5 years olds standing around a broken vase.
Soon to be Issued - Darrell Issa Stamp!
What does Issa's character have to do with the Postal Service?
Postal Employees have also been victimized by Issa’s Machiavellian deception tactics, to the tune of 41,000 dollars. 41,000 dollars was the amount that postal unions contributed to Darrell Issa’s congressional campaign during the 2010 election cycle after he assured them that he would work on their behalf. Out of gratitude for the donation, since then Issa has attempted to thwart the Postal Service and its employees at every turn. He has been the head cheerleader in Congress for every measure designed to eliminate postal jobs, such as ending Saturday delivery and the current proposal for centralizing delivery points. These propositions are both fair game for open, legitimate debate, but why did Issa so shamelessly take money from the Postal Unions with one hand while seeking to deliver a killing blow to them with the other? All Americans, Congressmen included, have a right to their political opinions, but can a man be trusted by anyone when he so callously betrays people that have put their trust in him?
Conclusion - The Fox guarding the Hen House?
Darrell Issa has been a highly prominent agitator and front runner against corruption and malfeasance in government. He has sought to expose wrongdoing in many incidents that needed to be investigated, such as Benghazi, the IRS audits against Obama’s political opponents, and the Fast and Furious episode in which government agents sold guns to Mexican drug dealers. But while launching himself ferociously against wrongdoing in government, does Issa really have an interest in protecting the well being of the citizens he has taken an oath to serve, or are his crusades simply a springboard to further his personal political power? In more ominous, sinister terms, once that the fox has become a fixture inside the hen house, will he turn against the helpless chickens that have started to trust him? This is basically what he has done to Postal employees. Who will he deceive next?
Is a politician's personal character important to the voters?
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