October 20, 2011
Rep. Darrell Issa has mastered the pitch for the GOP’s oversight efforts. Now he’s reaching for a tougher challenge: getting people to take him seriously.
Standing in the speaker’s lobby off the House floor during votes, Rep. Darrell Issa brushed aside criticism that he was a publicity hound: “I’m a salesman,” the California Republican told National Journal with a shrug. “What I’m selling is the awareness of a product.”
The “product” is the oversight of the federal government, and the pitch is that Issa’s investigations will root out inefficiencies and malfeasance in every corner of the Obama administration. The pitchman is Issa, an ambitious six-term lawmaker who took the gavel at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January when Republicans regained control of the House.
By one yardstick, Issa has had huge successes. The media-savvy Republican has carved out one of the highest profiles in Congress and fed a stream of stories that raised questions about how the administration does business. He’s omnipresent on television and radio, from The Rush Limbaugh Show to HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. His press office is one of the largest and most aggressive on Capitol Hill, rivaling that of Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.