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In Retrospect, Perhaps His Claims Should Have Been Treated With More Skepticism

[ 63 ] January 15, 2017 |

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House Snipe-Hunter in Chief Jason Chaffetz wasted countless amounts of taxpayer-provided time and money generating pseudo-scandals out of nothing, and vowed to continue to do so if Clinton won. His conduct perfectly reflected the Clinton Rules: i.e. “We know the Clintons are guilty; the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?” But surely this is about the Checks and Balances and…sorry, I can’t go on:

Of course, Republicans could have left it at that. But Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, has decided that not only are blatant ethics and constitutional violations now OK but also that criticizing blatant ethics and constitutional violations is not OK.

On Thursday, Chaffetz opted to go full Salem on the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, attacking Shaub for having done his job. The Republican threatened to subpoena Shaub if he refuses to participate in an official transcribed behind-closed doors interview. The calculus here seems to be that if nobody sees this crooked behavior by supposed ethics guardians like Chaffetz, then it didn’t happen.

OGE, set up post-Watergate, is nonpartisan and advises executive branch officials on avoiding conflicts. Shaub’s five-year term expires in January 2018.

Chaffetz demanded in a letter that he appear before lawmakers in the aforementioned closed-door, transcribed interview, to answer questions in a deposition-style setting. Richard Painter, who served as the ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told the New York Times that this was “political retaliation” by Republicans against nonpartisan ethics officers for doing their basic duty.

Chaffetz is, needless to say, a risible hack. He would be an cartoonishly overbroad villain by the standards of House of Cards. And yet, the punchline is that he essentially dictated coverage of the Clinton campaign. And with the help of the ghost of the slave power, one of his pseudo-scandals ended up putting Trump in the White House, where Chaffetz can now ignore his unprecedented corruption and unfitness for office. Just superb work.

Incidentally, Chaffetz is also the perfect representative of another transparently obvious scam that the media eagerly fell for: #NeverTrump. Refuse to endorse Trump when he looks certain to lose, reap the rewards for your Great Integritude, and then quietly endorse Trump the second he has any apparent chance of winning. And, now, Chaffetz will not only allow Trump to do whatever he wants as long as he gets to kill people in exchange for upper-class tax cuts, he will try to silence people who believe the House should make some effort to fulfill its constitutional role.

There should be a lesson about refusing to take Our Benevolent Republican Daddies seriously, but instead I’m guessing we’re going to get another round the million of Paul Ryan, Impressive Policy Wonk Who Sincerely Cares About the Poor People He Wants To Take Health Care and Food From instead. Ooooh, look over there, Hillary sent some emails!

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  1. SNF says:

    He’s still planning on investigating Hillary’s emails, for what it’s worth.

  2. sleepyirv says:

    On a pettier note, no one’s face should be that flat.

  3. Joe_JP says:

    A few people who were in the “Never Trump” camp who otherwise leaned Republican aren’t inherently assholes, but one thing that came to mind was that so few of them actually endorsed Clinton. Ana Navarro was an outlier there. At the end of the day, saying BOTH Clinton and Trump are bad was net a win for Trump. Not enough. Deplorable fellow traveler.

    The fact so many Never Trumpers — not just cartoon villains like this guy — are now supportive of Trump or all like “well he won, we need to normalize him, it’s a fait accompli” rankles. They are all like “hey, I don’t like the guy! I am a Never Trumper! How about those kewl Federalist Society judges Trump nominated? Not that I like HIM … just enabling him left and right.”

    • kped says:

      My favorite is still McCain. His service and awful time spent as a POW mocked. He…supports Trump. Today, he is 80 years old. He doesn’t face reelection until he is 86 years old. You’d think at this point, were he actually a “Maverick”, he should be totally able to call a spade a spade when it comes to Trump…but nope. He is silent.

      Like…what the fuck is he afraid of? A primary challenge when he is 86? Really? He is basically untouchable. But he is, as they all are, a fucking hack.

  4. Brien Jackson says:

    I would like to sign on to the idea of Evan McMullin running against Chaffetz in a GOP primary.

  5. rewenzo says:

    Guys like this wouldn’t have just joined the Nazi party in Germany, they would have applied for the SS.

    • howard says:

      There is a whole cadre of republicans like chaffetz who are entirely the product of the right-wing world view who, among other things, have no idea why we fought the second world war.

      • Nobdy says:

        why we fought the second world war.

        Is it state’s rights? Or was that just for the war of Northern aggression?

      • rewenzo says:

        Because obviously those cabbage-sucking johnny come latelys weren’t the master race. WE were the master race. Nothing says right wing ethno-nationalists have to all get along with each other. Hamas and Likud are perfectly happy to fight each other to the death for all time.

      • StellaB says:

        They have no truthful idea about much of anything. They’re unbelievably ignorant. I’m not talking about regular people who vote for these assholes, but about the assholes themselves who make policy based on fantasies that they truly believe.

        I nearly had a stroke on Friday talking to the “healthcare specialist” in my Rep’s office. I identified myself as a physician and she tried to tell me how the health care system works. No, you can’t get chemo in the ER, if you don’t have insurance. If you break your leg and need operative repair, they’ll put you in a splint, give you pain meds, and send you home with a list of area orthopedic surgeons.

        I told her that I buy my insurance through the ACA and I have educated myself on the features, funding mechanisms, etc. of the ACA. She tried to tell me how health insurance works and that any one who was unable to buy insurance due to pre-existing conditions could just “go on Medicaid” (that would be single payer!) and that no death spiral would result if mandates and subsidies were removed but guaranteed issuance was maintained.

        I prepare tax returns as a volunteer for the VITA program* and she tried to tell me that post-ACA plans would include subsidies by raising the deduction “from 7.5% to 10%” — which actually would lower deductions for those few who itemize — because she had no freaking idea how the Schedule A works.

        This so-called policy person tried to convince me that the sky was orange and believed what she was saying.

        *If you would like to do a fun and greatly appreciated volunteer job, I recommend the AARP/VITA tax prep program. It is much more intellectually challenging than most volunteer jobs.

      • jim, some guy in iowa says:

        howard, I’ll see that and raise it: I think they think the wrong side won World War 2- Lindbergh Republicans if you will- as well as the Civil War

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        have no idea why we fought the second world war.

        I believe it had something to do with tea bags and freedom fries.

        Oh, and the second amendment, opposing abortion and Planned Parenthood, and, of course, gays.

  6. kped says:

    You might not have predicted a Trump win Scott, but your calls on the Republicans have otherwise been spot on. I still remember people debating you on the Supreme Court thing, which you were spot on with. And I think this shows that if Hillary had won, your second Supreme Court prediction (Republicans would never let her fill the seat) would have come true. It would just be “we can’t let her, she is under heavy investigation and may be impeached”. And then if they did impeach her and managed to make Kaine president, “he didn’t win an election, it isn’t right to give him the pick”.

    It is just naked partisanship hackery, to pretend otherwise is to really not know anything about the party as it exists today. Chafetz is a risible hack, as you point out…but can anyone point me to a Republican in office who ISN’T one?

  7. RPorrofatto says:

    Chaffetz is a piece of work, but no wonder. He worked for a decade doing PR for one of the most abysmal pyramid schemes around, the billion-dollar Nu Skin International, which has since become the biggest donor to his campaigns. That alone puts him at a level of corruption and sleaze almost as bad as his new Leader. What makes it more disheartening is that the prick is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

    They really are the worst people.

  8. Nobdy says:

    I have been interested in seeing what has happened to the estwhile NeverTrump movement after the orange one eeked out an illegitimate victory.

    Most have put their tails between their legs and bent knee to orange daddy. Some of the leaders, like Erick Erickson, have focused more on just attacking Democrats rather than talking about Trump, except to say that his cabinet is super impressive and make other pro-Trumpy noises.

    A few have remained essentially Nevertrump. Evan McMullin has been pretty good at calling out Trump’s vileness. Bill Kristol (?!? of all people ?!?) has made a couple positive noises about Trump cabinet picks but generally remained anti-Trump (today he said he was ‘alarmed’ about the president.)

    It really does show how few Republicans are actually committed to ideology. The vast majority realize that Trump is the only game in town right now and are going to jump aboard that train even if it takes us all to hell. A small number are hedging their bets but don’t want to risk alienating their voters/audience by insulting the great pumpkin. The vanishingly few who actually oppose Trump seem to be either A) outside Republican power circles anyway or B) towards the end of their careers in “don’t give a shit” mode. Finally there’s C) Jews who are uncomfortable supporting someone loved by actual Nazis.

    I think Kristol is something of a mix of B and C but I never expected him of all people to appear to have actual lines which he refuses to cross.

    • Brien Jackson says:

      I think it’s pretty clear that McCain/Graham/Rubio/Kristol et al are alarmed about Trump’s impending foreign policy. OTOH, they aren’t just going to up and join with Dems, b/c they don’t like our foreign policy aims either.

      • Brien Jackson says:

        We’re in roughly the same boat too: Trump is terrible, but his Republican critics are lunatics who would start WW3 with Russia and/or China, brutalize Palestinians with glee, etc.

    • ΧΤΠΔ says:

      As for libertarians: Reason and Shafer definitely fall into the category of “NeverTrumpers who only whine about Democrats all the time,” albeit under different methods: The Reason glibturds tend to preemptively blame Obama for any of Trump’s authoritarian actions – while this is technically true, it’s being used in transparent bad faith and will at most serve to abdicate responsibility. Meanwhile, Shafer’s only actual problem with Donald is that he hurts reporters’ fee-fees (even though he theoretically ticks off all the boxes for your theoretical #NeverTrumper).

    • DrDick says:

      Republicans do not really give a damn about ideology. All they care about is power.

    • nemdam says:

      My impression is that non-elected Republicans who genuinely care about national security are legitimately NeverTrump, and they continue to stand up to him. Evan McMullin is a perfect example as he is ex-CIA. The neocons who endorsed Hillary are still basically NeverTrump. Trump’s SecDef pick, Gen. Mattis, might not be NeverTrump, but he demonstrated in his confirmation hearings that he is running things his way and will not be a rubber stamp for Trump. I’ve also heard rumblings that he has had disputes with Trump about Pentagon staffing and that he would consider resigning if he doesn’t get enough independence. Also, while elected Republicans are all craven sycophants, it doesn’t surprise that the few that have shown they might crack and take the Russia stuff seriously are the national security ones like McCain and Graham.

      But the non-national security NeverTrumpers? They are all a joke. They claim to be holding Trump accountable, but they all love his Cabinet picks, think he can implement all their conservative fantasies, and spend the rest of their time attacking the left. IOW, they are closeted Trump fans who don’t want to look like chumps for incorrectly calling the election. And it should be noted that they all think the Russia stuff is just hysteria from the left that they are getting a good laugh out of.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      I’m starting to run across more stuff by conservatives (I frequent financial blogs) who are absolutely giddy that Trump has nominated the Greatest People Ever who will fix everything wrong in the country, probably by February at the latest, and usher in an era of unprecedented wealth for all. (Believe me, I’m only exaggerating slightly at most.)

      In the same way that many people are fascinated by auto, airplane and other accidents, I’m looking forward to their reaction when somehow nirvana doesn’t arrive.

  9. waspuppet says:

    Actual, if stupid, question: Can Shaub show up to this Star Chamber encounter, put his phone on the table, hit Record, and say, “What? You told me to show up and I’m here. We’re all government employees here, and we will not be touching on critical national security matters. So I’m going to record this meeting and and release it to the public. Got a problem with that?”

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO says:

      There was another federal employee they did this to recently. She was very effective at thwarting them, because every time they criticized her for some action she took, she just kept calmly citing the specific law she was following. Drove them nuts; by the end they were reduced to saying “[well, you’re just a nasty woman, aren’t you?]”

      1) Government employees *hate* having to do this, so just the fact of making them appear has a chilling effect.

      2) Nevertheless, most bureaucrats, if they’re accomplished enough to reach the level where an elected could even want to call them to testify, are good enough at their jobs to have a solid defense of all their actions grounded in black letter law and or plausible deniability.

      So, yes, it’s a colossal waste of time and a pure exercise in intimidation and [pantomime hand jerking motion] grandstanding.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        Didn’t they try to force Hillary to testify in private, and only make the hearings public out of hubris over their ability to make her look bad?

        Republicans are gradually recognizing that the only public hearings that go well for them are the ones which only have other Republicans testifying at them. And that secrecy is their best weapon.

    • Stag Party Palin says:

      I would so love to hear Shaub tell Chaffetz to shove it up his jumper and refuse to appear.

  10. NewishLawyer says:

    At best, Trump and the GOP are going to be Harding 2.0 but worse.

    I suspect that they are going to ram through a lot of things in a full speed ahead, damn the torpedos kind of way.

  11. NewishLawyer says:

    I suspect that the GOP knows their policy positions are not popular but they have a theological belief in them anyway. They are going to do a 100 day push to get as much of it on the books as possible before people realize what is going on and they tank.

    The GOP has proven very unresponsive to public outcry and pushback in a way that is astonishing in a Democracy.

    • petesh says:

      in a way that is would be astonishing in a Democracy
      FIFY

    • Brien Jackson says:

      It really is amazing how Republicans aren’t planning on offering up ANYTHING that’s broadly popular. I mean even Bush planned on having Part D and NCLB to sell for re-election ffs.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      The GOP has proven very unresponsive to public outcry and pushback in a way that is astonishing in a Democracy.

      Given electoral results of the last decade or two, who can blame them for thinking they’ll get re-elected anyway.

  12. Brett says:

    Chaffetz will always be Mr Prison Camps to me, because when he was first running for a representative slot here in Utah he advocated mass deportation and putting the deported in camps before it was done. Naturally, he won an overwhelming victory because southern and central Utah are incredibly conservative and swung solidly to the Republican side years ago.

  13. rewenzo says:

    I saw this on Chaffetz’ wikipedia page today:

    Although he has run campaigns calling for accountability in government, Chaffetz has threatened to subpoena members of House Ethics officials, who have pointed out standards for ethics violations that might not be met by president-elect Trump .

    I assume it will be deleted soon.

  14. smott999 says:

    These people need to be rat-f-cked.
    I’m hopng there will be journalists who can find the right sources. I’m hoping whoever mailed the tax returns from TT is still around.

  15. DrDick says:

    No one ever expects the Inquisition!

  16. Hogan says:

    I know the title isn’t a Pratchett reference, but it’s an appropriate echo: Lord Downey of the Assassins’ Guild: “We took pity on him because he’d lost both parents at an early age. I think that, on reflection, we should have wondered a bit more about that.”

  17. vic rattlehead says:

    Jason Chaffetz: accessory before the fact to crimes against humanity.

  18. efgoldman says:

    I’m gud with the werdz, but I can’t really come up with anything to describe the complete and utter contempt I feel for this slimy, nasty excuse for a human being.
    If ever there were a case for abortion, he is it.

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