High school may be as good a preparation as one needs to understand how Congress works. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has a Republican trio most people will remember from growing up: Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, Ohio’s Jim Jordan and North Carolina’s Patrick T. McHenry.
Jordan’s the jock who nobody expects to do much with his life; Chaffetz is the brain the teachers wish would perform up to his potential and McHenry’s the kid the jock and the brain found stuffed into a locker. They rescued him and the three have been inseparable since.
At least, that’s what it looks like when they sit side-by-side in the top row of House Oversight, to the left of the chairman — possibly striving to avoid his notice while they whisper and giggle as more studious classmates pay attention to the lesson.
The three have a hearing shtick that is well-rehearsed. The subjects and the witnesses change, but the Three Oversight Amigos are as reliable as the odor of rotten eggs in chemistry class. On Wednesday, they put the screws to a group of administration officials explaining why Obamacare doesn’t work.
Jordan waves his arms like he’s trying to rally the football team at halftime. He yells. He interrupts. He motivates by belittling. You’re the middle linebacker. Are you expecting the ball carrier to fall at your feet? You’re the quarterback. You’re supposed to throw the ball to somebody on our team.
Except on House Oversight it’s, “You’re the chief information officer of the United States of America. That's a pretty big title. And you didn't know about this?” And “Mr. Park, you're supposed to be the guy who's gonna solve everything. You're — you’re Clark Kent coming out of the phone booth here. Did you know about this before Oct. 1st?”
Chaffetz wants one-word answers and builds his questions up to a climax that he seems to hope will cause witnesses to burst into tears, profess their guilt and throw themselves at the mercy of the committee.
How many times have you personally met with Secretary Sebelius? When was the last time? You engaged a hacker to look at HealthCare.gov. Correct? How many serious problems did he find? What percentage have been rectified? You have no idea what percentage? It’s not 100 percent? Did you share that with Secretary Sebelius?
“Holy cow,” says the kid rescued from a locker. “This is, like, a new low.”