09/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Flawed GOP Playbook

The level of hypocrisy in the GOP playbook is astonishing. Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed a letter wrongly questioning President Barack Obama's support of foreign aid to Israel, despite the fact that they voted against the administration's foreign aid bill a few weeks earlier (which contained billions in aid to Israel). This week, we witness a different member of the GOP caucus attacking Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, for his supposed "assault" and "fist in the nose" tactics.

Where's the hypocrisy this week?

The individual targeting Emanuel, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), has been accused of much worse than Emanuel's practice of "Chicago-style politics" (to use Issa's words). We at NJDC have never been a fan of Issa for his positions on issues important to the Jewish community, but this is a new level of hypocrisy for the California Representative. Issa has been accused of actions ranging from arson to firing an employee at gunpoint:

[A]llegations surfaced that [Darrel Issa] the 44-year-old car alarm magnate's rise to wealth had been accompanied by questionable events, including a fire at one of his businesses that at one time was suspected to be arson and a claim by a former associate that he attempted to intimidate the associate by displaying a gun.
- The Washington Post, June 3, 1998

Among other issues, the story reported that Issa got his start in the car alarm business by seizing control of an associate's business through an unusual court maneuver; that he left behind a trail of spurned associates in other dealings; that he was questioned about a suspected arson at his Cleveland manufacturing plant in 1982; and that he was arrested at age 18 on car theft charges that were later dropped.
- The Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1998

[A] former employee accused Issa of threatening him with a handgun.
- The San Francisco Chronicle, May 29, 1998

If Issa is accusing Emanuel of "Chicago-style politics," maybe he should answer questions about Issa-style business. Whether it is the clamorous call to support foreign aid to Israel, without actually voting for the foreign aid bill, or trotting out Issa to launch lame attacks against Emanuel - the GOP has lost their way. (At least, Issa hasn't joined so many of his GOP colleagues in the "birther caucus"...yet.)

I understand there are real policy differences between Republicans and the president, but more and more the GOP seems to be unable to substantively debate the merits of Democratic proposals without making fools of themselves. Instead of asking questions and debating Obama's birthplace, or accusing Emanuel of "Chicago-style politics," or voting against - and then demanding - aid to Israel; maybe Republican Members of Congress should spend their time, you know, doing their job.