(Photo by Adam Lautenbach)

This is the kind of nostalgia I can live without.  Via Politico today:

If President Barack Obama needed any more incentive to go all out for Democrats this fall, here it is: Republicans are planning a wave of committee investigations targeting the White House and Democratic allies if they win back the majority.

Everything from the microscopic — the New Black Panther party — to the massive –- think bailouts — is on the GOP to-do list, according to a half-dozen Republican aides interviewed by POLITICO. . . .

. . . And a handful of aggressive would-be committee chairmen — led by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — are quietly gearing up for a possible season of subpoenas not seen since the Clinton wars of the late 1990s.

Issa would like Obama’s cooperation, says Kurt Bardella, spokesman for the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But it’s not essential.

How acrimonious things get really depend on how willing the administration is in accepting our findings [and] responding to our questions,” adds Bardella, who refers to his boss as “questioner-in-chief.’

Yes, my friends, that’s right — if their obstruct-and-blame game plan borrowed from 1993-94 repeats its success in giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives, the GOP will do its damnedest to relive the whole eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency.  (No word yet if Obama will cooperate in the re-enactment by having a tawdry Oval Office affair, although he’s been remarkably obliging toward the Republican strategy so far.)

Not that anyone should be surprised, of course.  The Republicans only have a few tricks in their bag, and endless, puffed-up accusations of Democratic scandals have always been one of them.  And with a nominally Democratic president still in place in the White House no matter what happens in the midterm elections, it’s not like the GOP could entertain thoughts of passing a serious policy agenda, even assuming they had one.

Still, think about the media’s belly-exposing submissiveness toward the right wing in dealing with manufactured controversies like ACORN and Park 51.  Now imagine how much more airtime will be devoted to these nonsensical claims once they’re backed by House subcommittees with subpoena power, and the TV bobbleheads can gravely intone that Serious Republican Congressmen wouldn’t make such accusations unless they had some merit.  Sobering, isn’t it?

And even if relentless scandal-mongering won’t boost the public’s opinion of Republicans very much, it will accomplish the party’s underlying strategic goal — distracting Americans from issues that really matter, and convincing them further that government can’t accomplish anything useful.  (The Democrats, truth be told, are only good at the second part of that.)