Preparing for a Scandal-Happy 112th Congress.

One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the fact that conservatives are actually quite amenable to the idea of impeaching President Obama. It's not clear what "high crimes and misdemeanors" they had in mind, but as of last December, a whopping 35 percent of Republicans supported impeachment, and I wouldn't be shocked if those numbers were now higher given Obama's incredibly low stature with conservatives. I'm not sure if there are any congressional Republicans interested in impeaching Obama, but there are plenty interested in chasing as many scandals as possible. Indeed, if this Washington Post profile of GOP House staffer Larry Brady is any indication, the Obama administration can expect a torrent of investigations if Republicans regain power.

Brady is the minority staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and will wield subpoena power if his boss, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ascends as majority chairman. Already, Brady has worked to expose Democratic "controversies"; he was a prime mover in the scandal over the White House's attempts to influence Senate races in Pennsylvania and Colorado and has investigated ACORN's "aggressive political support for Democratic candidates."

Indeed, if Republicans win the House this fall, I wouldn't be surprised to see a replay of Republican behavior during the Clinton administration. Republicans issued 1,052 subpoenas between 1997 and 2002, the vast majority of which were related to investigations of the Clinton administration and the Democratic National Committee. What's more, House Republicans logged hundreds of hours of sworn testimony over "scandals" like President Clinton's use of the White House Christmas card list. With the Republican Party further to the right than it has ever been, it's only reasonable to assume that the GOP will turn the 112th Congress into a breeding ground for manufactured scandals.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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