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Issa's chin music

One of the biggest surprises since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives is how Darrell Issa, as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has largely stayed out of the front-page headlines.

Now comes this: The Washington Times reports that Issa will conduct a series of hearings aimed at a 2012-related video President Obama shot from the White House, as well as the president's White House meeting in March with big donors. (First Read wrote about the video and the March meeting last month.)

Strikingly, Issa suggests to the Washington Times that the hearings won't amount to more than "good theater," and he equates them to a baseball pitcher throwing "chin music" at a batter to brush him away from the plate. Issa's reasoning: His committee can't enforce campaign law.

In the interview with The Times, Mr. Issa acknowledged that his committee's role in enforcing campaign law is limited.

"At the end of the day, the president's not going to be impeached over either of those two offenses," Mr. Issa said. But he said he would seek to hold the president's team accountable "by White House people testifying."

He likened his investigation to a probe conducted by the committee's previous chair, Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, who investigated the use of RNC e-mail accounts by 88 White House officials under Mr. Bush.

"It'll be good theater," Mr. Issa said. "The Democrats will make the claim that somehow we were wrong. And we'll remind them that this isn't much different than what Waxman looked at. And then it will end. The sad truth is, the most we can do on our committee is the equivalent of a pitcher who gets tired of a batter crowding the plate. Our hearings can maybe brush him [the president] back a little."