The House committee responsible for Obamacare oversight asked for expert guidance last week about the troubled launch of the federal Healthcare.gov site from John McAfee, the tech legend once suspected in the murder of his neighbor in Central America, CNBC has learned. That Republican-controlled committee wanted the McAfee Associates founder to "guide our oversight and review of" the implementation of the federal marketplace selling Obamacare insurance, according to an email obtained by CNBC.com. The committee suggested that McAfee might discuss the technologically botched rollout with members of Congress.
From time to time, Republican officials will seek out advice from those who are a little ... what's the word ... unusual.
For example, earlier this year, the Republican National Committee invited far-right provocateur David Horowitz, author of books such as "Killing Whitey," to help the party "broaden the GOP's appeal with voters." His lack of credibility on the subject didn't seem to bother party leaders. Similarly, around the same time, House Republicans sought out Dick Cheney for guidance on foreign policy, untroubled by his track record, too.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with seeking out experts for advice -- indeed, it's generally a good idea -- but the key is identifying reliable, trustworthy authorities who can help others better understand complex issues and add value to a serious conversation.
It you missed Rachel's opening segment last night -- and my oh my do I hope you saw this one -- there's fresh evidence that Republicans' appreciation for expertise is a little, shall we saw, skewed.
For PC owners, McAfee is probably a familiar brand name, generally associated with anti-virus software. But John McAfee is another story altogether.
Rachel documented the sordid tale last night in stunning fashion, but to briefly recap, John McAfee, following some notable drug-induced escapades, moved to Belize, where he surrounded himself with firearms, bodyguards, and teenaged girlfriends. When a neighbor filed a noise complaint against McAfee, the neighbor was soon after shot in the head and killed.
McAfee then fled Belize, was detained in Guatemala, and was deported back to the United States.
This is the man House Republicans have sought out for guidance on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
McAfee's lawyer apparently responded that his client's schedule is "up in the air," but he might be available for "a phone breifing [sic]."
A couple of years ago, David Brooks, lamenting the radicalism of congressional Republicans, complained that many on the far-right "do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities."
That's true, though they're happy to replace legitimate scholars and intellectual authorities with a colorful cast of characters.