Friday, May 28, 2010

Advantage: Toomey 

The controversy about Joe Sestak's claim that the White House offered him a position has certainly grown legs, and the White House's Friday-before-the-holiday-weekend story release will only serve to help Sestak's Republican opponent, Pat Toomey.

The White House story just doesn't seem all that credible. Using Bill Clinton as an intermediary makes sense only in that Sestak supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, but President Clinton has a bit of a reputation of playing fast and loose with the truth, or at least it is fair to say that people have learned to parse his words very carefully. More importantly, the story the White House is now putting out is that "among the possible jobs considered for him was a seat on the president's Intelligence Advisory Board," which is an unpaid position, thereby avoiding the legal issue of a quid-pro-quo involving anything having monetary value. The problem is that such a position would not have had a chance of dissuading Sestak from going after Specter's seat, and Rahm Emmanuel or Joe Biden would have known that. Furthermore, the White House claims that it wanted Sestak to stay in his House seat, fearing it could be lost to the Republicans, but discovered only after the feeler was put out there that Sestak couldn't keep his seat and serve on the Board at the same time. Oh, we made this procedural error in offering an unpaid position to a Congressman.

Now, this is all a sideshow to what will otherwise be a well-contested election between two distinct candidates. To Sestak's credit, he did not take the deal and drop out of the primary. He is, however, still blemished by this politics-as-usual story, at least in part because of his reluctance to provide details over the past week or so, and dodging the question during a number of TV interviews, giving the appearance of delaying so that the relevant parties could get their stories straight. It will diminish Sestak in the eyes of Independent voters and bitter clinger Democrats in the central part of the Commonwealth, who may have voted for President Obama in 2008 to help him carry Pennsylvania convincingly, but are now suffering from varying degrees of disillusionment.

Sestak can still win the election, and in fact might be favored to do so at points in time between now and November. One strategy will be to paint Pat Toomey as a Pennsylvania version of Rand Paul. Toomey will undoubtedly recruit moderate Republicans to campaign with him and for him to combat that theme, and will have the advantage of Tom Corbett running on the Republican ticket for governor, and currently being favored to win.


By Anonymous feeblemind, at Fri May 28, 05:21:00 PM:

I have just quickly scanned this story, so apologies if I have missed the answer to my question.

My question: If Bill Clinton was the go-between, what was in it for Bill? He surely didn't try to broker a deal for free, did he?  

By Anonymous Sally, at Fri May 28, 08:22:00 PM:

It's all just kind of ironic. Sestak started all this by blabbing the story to begin with, that he was offered a job to get out of the race. I'm sure he thought it sent this great message about how he is his own guy and he was willing to stand up to The Man (Obama) and take on the power brokers. Except now he's coordinating his story with those same power brokers and trying to make the problem go away because he doesn't want to be sideways with those guys going into the general election. Just another hack politician. But then is there any other kind?

Bill Clinton needs to stop taking Rahm Emmanuel's calls already. That weasel is just too much trouble.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Fri May 28, 08:44:00 PM:

Yeah..I'll drop my election bid for a unreimbursed positon on an advisory committee.


THAT was the big carrot they sent Bill Clinton to deliver to Sestak?

Sorry, but it's simply inconceivable. Clinton would be embarassed to deliver such and offer. Sestak would laugh at the offer.

I guess the last hope is that people will believe it.

They really DO think that we are idiots, don't they?  

By Blogger Escort81, at Fri May 28, 09:26:00 PM:

Feeblemind - I can only speculate that there are some attractive female interns in Sestak's office on the Hill.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 28, 09:28:00 PM:

Here's my theory...

What does Clinton have to gain? Remember Hilary's campaign debt.

I was spammed by Bill Clinton and his minions about 2 weeks ago. They wanted us to donate to pay off Hillary's campaign debt. All donors get into a raffle to spend a day in NYC with Clinton.

Watch for a very large payment to be made from Obama's billion dollar slush fund to Hilary's campaign fund. This is the Obama money raised over the internet in 07-08 from all the unnamed people (in violation of the law). Other than funding OFA to spam people begging for more I suspect at least several hundred million $ is left.

BHO might wash it through Soros or some other channel, but this wil be a straight payoff from Obama to the Clinton's to prevent Obama's impeachment.

The Clinton's are not above pimping for dollars so both sides win here.

Note a few Clinton people have turned up the heat on Obama recently. Carville may go silent too as part of this deal.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat May 29, 01:16:00 AM:

So Bill Clinton is given the task of discreetly and honestly representing Obama in a negotiation, then honestly representing Sestak back to Obama. Because he can be trusted not to play any side games of his own.

I just loved typing that. I think I'll open up a Word document and type it ten more times.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Sat May 29, 02:05:00 AM:

"Sen. S. I. Hayakawa on Wednesday spurned a Reagan administration suggestion that if he drops out of the crowded Republican Senate primary race in California, President Reagan would find him a job."

AP news clipping from the 1980s, reproduced at Wonkette:


Strangely there appears to have been no outrage at Reagan. Draw your own conclusions.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat May 29, 01:24:00 PM:

Brian...people LIKED Reagan.  

By Blogger Brian, at Sat May 29, 06:16:00 PM:

JP - so I guess it's not an ethical issue, it's just mudslinging/popularity contest.  

By Anonymous jms, at Sun May 30, 09:25:00 AM:

The one in the most danger from this is Hillary Clinton. Joe was offered the deal and turned it down, but what about Hillary? She dropped out of a neck-and-neck race with Obama, and was rewarded with the office of Secretary of State.

What did Bill Clinton gain? He now owns the felony-bribery card that could, if played right, bring the Obama administration down. Watch for money to come pouring in his and Hillary's direction. Not necessarily directly from the expected sources. But expect the Clintons to have a very lucky, financially successful next few years.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun May 30, 10:43:00 AM:

"so...it's just mudslinging/popularity contest"

Were you ever in any doubt???

The president who lowered taxes, whose mere presence freed the Iran hostages, who created an economic boom that lasted a decade and who lead the final charge on Soviet communism....Reagan.


The clod who spends us into oblivion, tolerates jihad, responds to recession by attacking banks and sending the National Debt into the stratosphere, and hires communists for his advisory staff...Barry Obama (or whatever hes real name is).

I can tolerate a little political quid-pro-quo for a man of the former mettle.

I will endorse ANY legal reason to get the latter incompetent boob away from my wallet and my family.

So, yeah, Brian..you are correct.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Mon May 31, 12:59:00 AM:

I likely haven't thought through the possible consequences, because I can't see why this is that big an issue, whether for Obama or Reagan. I get that it's against the law. I certainly get that the difference in stories is always suspicious. What am I missing here? Isn't this how politicians often act in every era?  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Mon May 31, 02:05:00 PM:

I'm a harsh Obama critic, but I'm surprised the Sestak story has legs. Methinks other things are driving this:

1) There's some internecine Democrat battling going on. E.g., Obama wouldn't have held the recent presser, if Carville's rants hadn't forced him to. It feels like something deeper is going on

2) MSM is starting to turn on Obama.

3) Obama is a quid-pro-quo Playa. Some are just waking up to this.

4) Obama has a real issue over lying to us. It's one thing to make campaign promises. It's another to sell Healthcare as "cutting the deficit, as certified by the CBO." Obama's too conniving by half. This is going to become a real problem for Obama.

3 and 4 are the kinds of things that got LBJ and Nixon into trouble. They certainly don't fit the image Obama created for himself during the campaign. Remember the official "halo" photographs.

"Sestak" could lead to complications for Kagan's SCOTUS confirmation. Kagan's qualified, but her biggest qualification is that she's a Friend of O. Another quid-pro-quo appointment?

I thought the Rezko-Blago-Obama connection was old and cold. Maybe not. The Rezko trial record already showed an Obama "quid" and a "quo."  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Mon May 31, 06:33:00 PM:

The Truth is Out There:

Re people waking up to the fact that a Chicago pol presented himself as "not one of THOSE lying partisan conniving politicians:" while 20-25% of the electorate have drunk the Kool-Aid too deeply to ever wake up, we need only 8-15% of the electorate to come to its senses.  

By Blogger Brian, at Tue Jun 01, 10:51:00 AM:

JP, I'm not sure if you're criticizing Reagan for the "political quid-pro-quo" on Hayakawa.

Personally I think Reagan did nothing wrong in that particular case by offering a paid job, and neither did the Obama administration with an unpaid position.

I understand your major point though that "controversy" in this case isn't really about right and wrong, it's about pushing for the guy one one side and cutting down the guy on the other side.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jun 01, 09:24:00 PM:

Like many of these seemingly silly issues, it isn't so much the commission of the blunder that takes the toll...it is the attempt to cover it up.

From that perspective, Obama's blunder is worse...because of all the obfuscation and unbelievable explanations.

Also, sadly, the political climate is different.  

By Blogger Brian, at Wed Jun 02, 03:36:00 PM:

Sounds like you're not willing to defend Reagan's job offer, JP. You've heard my opinion - it was okay for him to make the offer, just like Obama.

Sounds like you would have had no problem with a Democratic Party noise machine going full blast at Reagan for making the offer, though.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu Jun 03, 11:15:00 PM:

Actually, Brian, your allegation about Reagan does not hold water. It's a moot point, in a sense, since it doesn't change anything I said...but you should get in the habit of not trusting everything you read on tin-foil-hat websites.

None other than the ABC News Senior White House Correspondent
the rumor.  

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