Whitewater: Part Deux.

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Rep. Darrell Issa, the incoming chair of the Government Oversight Committee, is clearly giddy at the thought of turning the 112th Congress into a '90s-esque circus of bogus investigations:

California Rep. Darrell Issa is already eyeing a massive expansion of oversight for next year, including hundreds of hearings; creating new subcommittees; and launching fresh investigations into the bank bailout, the stimulus and, potentially, health care reform.

Issa told POLITICO in an interview that he wants each of his seven subcommittees to hold “one or two hearings each week.”

“I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” Issa said.

Issa was decidedly more understated than this before the elections, but that probably has more to do with the political optics of planning endless investigations, than it does with any sense of limits on what is necessary or acceptable.

In any case, officials in the Obama White House should prepare for a repeat of the mid-1990s, when the Oversight Committee, led first by Congressman William Clinger of Pennsylvania -- and later by Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana -- issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party. In the next year, we should expect Issa to begin investigations into ACORN (are they stealing our elections?), "Climategate," the Obama administration's alleged shady dealings (Issa has called Obama "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times"), and NPR's leftist sympathies.

In other words, next year should be exciting for political pundits and terrible for anyone interested in a functioning government.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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