Sestak Questions of the Day
Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:14am 12 Comments
1. Why did it take until after the Pennsylvania Senate primary for details regarding the offer made to Joe Sestak, and the use of Bill Clinton as the conduit, to leak out?
2. Would it have made a difference in the primary? (Did I just answer the first question?)
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Professor, you are getting warm, but not quite burning. Permit me to offer an assist.
a) Specter was 'their man in Penna.' according to the the White House.
b) Sestak is made a vague offer from Mr. X, if he would bow out. Problem is he blabs it out.
c) The Penna. race gets tight. The very details of the Sestak offer that Specter could have used to defeat his opponent are not used by the Specter campaign. Worse, the WH bails on Specter in the end.
Connect those dots and the worse 2 questions of all will formulate in your mind to add to your list.
I have a rather cyncial interpretation of the WH statement concerning Sestak. I think it may be a case of telling the truth, but not the WHOLE truth.
Specifically, the statement says, in effect, Clinton talked to Sestak about the possibility of his accepting an unpaid advisory position.
The natural inference is that this is the ONLY thing they discussed relative to the present controversy. However, the literal words of it don't preclude the possibility that the unpaid advisory post was only ONE among several scenarios that were discussed. In fact, it's possible there were discussions between Sestak and other PEOPLE, besides Clinton.
We already know from Clinton's track record he will play these kinds of games, finding ways to lie without saying anything literally untruthful. If he says he called Sestak and they discussed "x," we can't rule out the possibility they also discussed "y," where "y" is in fact the thing he knows we are all interested in hearing about.
Well, Professor, your key assumption seems to be that the WH players believed that it was inevitable for the elements of the backroom deal to eventually become known. So, they carefully timed and leaked their version in order to avoid being put completely on the defensive.
I think you're right.
Ultimately, they realized that anything seen as an ongoing cover-up could have been trouble, despite the otherwise compliant media. So, they only engaged in a controlled, or "temporary" cover-up, on the theory that timing is everything. They did not really care if Arlen won. What they cared about was if Arlen believed they wanted him to win.
And, if that is all true, two important correlary beliefs on their part had to be:
1. that the press and media would simply not press them on the matter until the WH got good and ready to leak it . . . i.e., after the primary; and,
2. they calculated that the Republicans would avoid heating things up until after the primary as well, i.e., they would not actively attempt to goad the press into pursuing it prior to the primary.
Once again, those seem to be very much the case.
The press and media were utterly passive on this one, almost disgustingly so. Whatever may be left of the old notion of working hard and "getting the story" is . . . well, it just doesn't seem to exist with large numbers of them. They are on the Obama team.
In fact, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski recently blurted out on air that her husband (Jim Hoffer), who is an investigative reporter with ABC-TV, recently told her to cool it on the Sestak story! As noted here, "[H]er husband Mr. Hoffer told her Ix-nay on the offer!"
The WH no doubt also calculated that the Republicans would be sufficiently resentful of the treachery of Arlen Specter, that they would not do anything to put Seatak on the defensive until after the primary.
A few conclusions:
Arlen Specter was the world's biggest sucker for believing whoever his contact with the White House may have been (including if he was talking on any regular basis to Rahm); or,
His contact with the White House (in the unlikely event it was not Rahm) was duped into keeping Arlen Specter on board because it should have been obvious the Administration most desperately needed his votes over the period of time now just past.
Under the bus, Arlen . . . sucker!
And finally, Bill Clinton continues to demonstrate his consistent mendacity. He will (or he ought to) go down as one of the real low-lifes in American history.
But what else would you expect from a guy who recently publicly announced an offer of a chance opportunity to win the "prize" of spending the day with him, for anyone willing to make a monetary contribution to help retire his wife's protracted and nagging political debt from the 2008 presidential campaign — which Bill was given the responsibility of discharging, owing to her current official position.
How was that offer not an inducement to engage in unlawful gambling? Those who would participate would certainly see it as an opportunity to win something of substantial value — to them. All the money — every red cent of it — goes to the "house." And making political contributions could not ever qualify as charitable giving, which could qualify as an exception to gambling restrictions.
But to Bill Clinton, virtually anything justifies his ongoing desire to get over.
And we now know that obviously included his willingness to engage in making an offer of a federal job to Joe Sestak if he got out of the race.
I just wonder what Bill got in exchange for that mission?
I have a slightly different theory as to why none of this leaked out during the primary: Because the "details" were all made up Thursday (May 27th) night! Bill Clinton never called Sestak (and if he ever did, the conversation that took place was probably exactly like Conrad Bibby described it)- it was obviously Rahm or somebody on his staff who called- a high up person in the administration as Sestak originally claimed.
And the position wasn't some for uncompensated advisory board nonsense; the White House says it couldn't be Secretary of the Navy because another offer was made- but they've had all kinds of people (Van Jones, etc.) not taking positions, or leaving (Greg Craig- remember him?- replaced by Bob Bauer…) after a short time.
All this comes to a head now for the POTUS because Rep. Issa 's looking at it, and Major Garrett snuck the question in at the press conference. So, Bill Clinton- conveniently at the White House Thursday night- and the boys concoct this story to try to be clever (not realizing that they've still confessed to breaking the law-Clinton's getting sloppy in his old age) and collaborate with Sestak's lawyer brother the same night. Pretty sad that Clinton would jeopardize his legacy for one-term Obumbler, if I'm right.
And an easier way to know it's all made up: I highly doubt that a prickly narcissist like Bill Clinton would say nadda at the time, if somebody, after rejecting his offer (and harming the Democrats chance of winning in Penn by staying in the primary), then goes and blurts about being offered a job in an interview. Even if the "Body Count" is a bunch of hooey, I'm sure it's caused reasonable people to think twice before going against Bubba's wishes…
3) Does Toomey even really need to keep campaigning at this point?
(And, of course the answer is 'yes', but… man, this had better be an easy one!)
One can only hope that there are Woodward/Bernstein wannabes lurking in the shadows investigating the prevarications one at a time. How will we ever get the truth out of this bunch of Chicagoland pols? Never happen.
A.G. — Heh! Could be.
Well, they certainly needed to eventually say something, didn't they?
Something other than:
"The President met with Joe Sestak and offered him a federal job if he dropped out of the Senate primary race."
"The President told Rahm to meet with Joe Sestak and to offer him a federal job if he dropped out of the Senate primary race."
"The President told Rahm to meet with Joe Sestak and to offer him a federal job if he dropped out of the Senate primary race, and Rahm suggested he should ask Bill Clinton to do it in order to put some distance there and give them some level of deniability regarding the details of the conversation, if it ever came out."
And, whichever one it may have been (or, even if it was some variation thereof) stupid Joe Sestak then went out and blurted!
"Never attribute to malice alone that which can be attributed to malice and stupidity."
As for the position Joe says he was being offered, looks like Byron York has effectively destroyed that argument, via Ed Morrissey, at HotAir.
So much for the theory that "dumping it" on the eve of a long weekend would somehow help to hide it.
That theory was based on the old notion that government offices and libraries closed on Friday when everyone headed for the shore, or for the mountains.
Given the increasing resource capabilities on the internet, and the tenacity of the hounds on scent, dumping something at the beginning of the weekend, when most everyone has time for a little "C & R" (cocktails and research) doesn't seem so smart anymore!
My question is did Specter know this was going on? My gut says he did. Which leads to —
a) Specter wanted to use the information in his campaign. However he could not get a 'go' from the WH that were stalling.
b) Threatening to release what little he did know, the WH cuts him off. Stops campaigning. When the race got to 50/50 the WH realized the one way to shut Specter down was to do nothing for him.
Like Conrad Bibby, I think the unpaid advisory story reeks of Clintonian efforts at providing the various miscreants with plausible deniability. For example, how do we know that the Clinton offer was the only direct or indirect discussion between Sestak and the White House? Perhaps the Clinton offer was round one in the discussions. When Sestak refused to be bought off for a titular position, the White House came back with a more substantive offer. I'm not aware of anybody asking Sestak if, in addition to Clinton, he talked to Rahm or Axelrod about the high level job he referred to during the primary.
And why does Obama offering Mabus the position of Secretary of Navy exclude the possibility that he also promised it to Sestak? Have you looked at the history of Secretary’s of Navy? Including Mabus, three have already served under Obama. Not a lot of longevity in that position.
Breaking . . . Professor, at Politico it looks like a very fidgety Robert Gibbs finally has the answer to your question regarding why it took so long.
And, he gives the same answer to several other pertinent questions as well.
The answer is simply, "I'd refer you to the memo."
Or, perhaps a more understandable way to respond might have been, "Talk to the memo."