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Issa's revealing new conspiracy theory


Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, chatted with the hosts of Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Monday, and shared a creative argument about the Obama administration and the Recovery Act.

"Stimulus was supposed to be quick. In fact, they never intended to spend it and will not completely have effectively spent it until after the president's re-elect. Always looking at how do you get the maximum hit when the president was up for re-elect."

Glenn Kessler asked Issa's office for evidence to bolster the congressman's on-air claims, but Issa's aides didn't have anything substantive to offer.

The Republican's grammar and syntax is a little tough to decipher, but it appears Issa believes the Obama administration deliberately delayed stimulus spending in 2009 in order to give the president's re-election campaign the "maximum hit" in 2012. There are a couple of ways to consider a line like Issa's, even putting aside his penchant for strange and unfounded conspiracy theories.

The first is the substantive question: is there any reason to believe the underlying claim? Not even a little -- nearly all of the money was invested long before the 2012 election got underway.

It's true that the Recovery Act money was not spent all at all once, which was intentional in order to prevent a sudden stop to the economic activity, but for those concerned with the facts, the "maximum hit" has come and gone.

But there's another, arguably more important, aspect to this: Darrell Issa seems to be arguing that public investments through government stimulus boosts the economy. That's true, of course, but aren't Republicans supposed to argue the opposite?

In other words, even from Issa's perspective, the only way his bogus conspiracy theory is coherent is if you believe stimulus money from Washington is good for the economy. Otherwise, there'd be no point in delaying the "maximum hit" to coincide with the campaign.

But if Issa believes his own rhetoric, why has he fought so aggressively against the Recovery Act and related efforts?