Want More Oversight? Hire More Spox.

| Tue Jul. 1, 2014 7:24 PM EDT

Via Paul Waldman, USA Today has a quickie analysis of the evolution of committee staff in the House:

Since Republicans took control of the U.S. House in January 2011, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has led a cost-cutting effort that has trimmed staff for House committees by nearly 20%, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. But the number of committee staff responsible for press and communications work has increased by nearly 15% over the same period, according to House spending records.

....Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the numbers are "completely unsurprising. We promised responsible oversight of the Obama administration, and effective oversight requires communicating with the American people."

I love that response from Steel. If you had asked me to defend the indefensible here, I would have spent a few minutes starting at the ceiling and drooling before quietly slinking away in shame. But not Steel! He's a pro. He instantly comes up with something, and apparently manages to say it with a straight face. It's completely ridiculous, but that doesn't matter. It kinda sorta makes sense if you don't actually think about it, and that's good enough.

Anyway, there you have it. Effective oversight requires sending ever more outraged email bombs to your tea party base about Benghazi/IRS/Solyndra/Fast & Furious/Bergdahl/Syria/etc. That's oversight, baby. Jeebus.

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