The Republican minority (with much help from FOX News) has tried for well over a year and a half of the Obama presidency to make something (anything) stick; trying to curtail any leaps and bounds forward from the wreckage left behind by the previous President that no one is supposed to mention any more.
Joe Sestak is the latest tarball to be thrown.
For those of you busy living your life away from the latest Right shipwreck, the lead up goes a bit like this:
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) recently defeated Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary for U.S. Senate. As the story goes, “… chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (offered) Rep. Joe Sestak an administration appointment in exchange for Sestak’s not challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary.”
Sestak, a three star Admiral and 31 year Navy vet, turned down the position of Secretary of the Navy, a job offer for which he is obviously well-qualified. Sestak himself indicated as much during a recent interview.
Such a statement is the equivalent of tossing chum into Republican shark-infested waters.
Seven old sharks–U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma–have formally queried Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the current situation, which is similar to one that once went around.
Meaning…the conservative answer to all things bright and beautiful–President Ronald Reagan– pitched a similar political (and altogether legal) deal to Senator S.I. Hayakawa back in November, 1981.
Here is an excerpt from “Hayakawa’s ‘Not Interested’ in Any Reagan Job Offer”
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.
“I’m not interested,” said the 75-year-old Hayakawa.
“I do not want to be an ambassador, and I do not want an administration post.”
In an interview earlier this week, Ed Rollins, who will become the president’s chief political adviser in January, said Hayakawa would be offered an administration post if he decided not to seek re-election. No offer has been made directly to Hayakawa, Rollins said.
Similarly, Hayakawa said in a statement, “I have not contacted the White House in regard to any administration or ambassadorial post, and they have not been in contact with me.”
As for that other President, the guy who served up a hot mess over two terms who shall remain nameless in this post? Well, …former Bush (whoop, there it is!) administration chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter offered the following observation: “The allegation that the job offer was somehow a ‘bribe’ in return for Sestak not running in the primary is difficult to support.”
“Nice try” is what I would say to the White House. I would prefer if the White House were to stay out of Democratic primaries and focus on the tasks at hand. Then again, President Bush occasionally intervened in Republican primaries (including on behalf of Senator Specter in 2004). The less partisan politics in the White House the better (I would like to see the President abolish the White House Office of Political Affairs). This, however, is nothing new and it hardly rises to the level of a major ethics controversy.
To summarize, if political horse-trading were illegal, our prisons would be filled with politicians.
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