Republicans may have conceded on the debt ceiling and government shutdown fight, but they can’t seem to completely give up. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is launching an investigation into how the Obama administration cynically demanded the closing of the monuments and national parks during the government shutdown.
Issa, you may remember, is the Republican attack dog who has led the charge against President Obama over Benghazi and the IRS scandal. In both cases, there has been little evidence to corroborate Issa’s story, but that hasn’t stopped him for a second.
The same is true today. Issa’s only evidence that the White House intended to use the closure of the monuments and national parks to put public pressure on Republicans is from the quote of an anonymous park ranger in the Washington Times. That may be little to go on, but that’s more than enough for Issa.
In addition, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis told representatives that it was his decision to close the monuments and national parks at a hearing before two House committees today.
“The monuments and memorials on the National Mall do not take care of themselves,” Jarvis said. “Our rangers are there to prevent vandalism and impact to the monuments and memorials. All of those rangers have been furloughed.”
Republicans seized on closure of the monuments during the shutdown when World War II veterans who had flown in for an event at the World War II Memorial found it barricaded. The vets easily broke through and the incident became a national story. Republicans didn’t waste any time pouncing on it, with many heading out to the National Mall to take photos and rail against the Obama administration’s decision to close the open-air monuments. Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and other Tea Party activists held a rally there on Sunday to voice their disapproval.
The rally did nothing to improve the GOP’s bargaining position and the Republicans finally conceded today. Issa’s evidence-free investigation is the final whimper in a battle the GOP badly lost.