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My Last Words on Sestak

May 29, 2010

So apparently Joe Sestak wasn’t offered a job because he couldn’t have taken it in the first place—something that, as I noted the other day, Chait and others have been pointing out all week.  Instead, he was offered something else.  From the NYT:

While many have speculated that the White House offered to appoint Mr. Sestak as secretary of the Navy, Mr. Bauer said that was never the case. The White House did not offer Mr. Sestak a full-time paid position because Mr. Emanuel wanted him to stay in the House rather than risk losing his seat, so he considered “uncompensated advisory board options.”

The White House did not disclose what those options were, but people briefed on the matter said one option was an appointment to the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a panel of prominent Americans outside government who provide independent oversight of the nation’s spy apparatus and advise the president. But White House officials discovered that it would not work because Mr. Sestak could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress.

In a statement Friday, Mr. Sestak said Mr. Clinton had conveyed Mr. Emanuel’s suggestion that he join a “presidential board” while remaining in the House, but he declined. “I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer,” Mr. Sestak said. “The former president said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.”

Hopefully, this is the last thing I’ll say about this: I think I’ve made up my mind here—Sestak is just acting like an idiot/political opportunist.  They didn’t offer him a paid job on the Intelligence Advisory Board because he would have had to leave the House to accept it.  Hell, he would have had to leave the Senate race to accept it too.  Even if that seems a little underhanded, it’s not illegal or even scandalous.  Instead, the Administration got Bill Clinton to offer him a “position” at some other “presidential board”, which would have allowed him to keep his seat in the House while he did whatever duties that entailed.  Pardon me, Joe, but that “job” seems like it’s the Brevard County Manatees to the Intelligence Advisory Board’s Milwaukee Brewers, i.e. it’s extremely small potatoes.  That’s not a job, that’s something you slap on the end of your resume so you can get it just the right length.  I find myself agreeing with Jonah on this one:

Okay, going by Sestak’s statement and Dan Foster’s fine post below, I can only conclude that Sestak is either lying or a blowhard. Because, if he’s telling the truth, that means he mistook a casual offer for a seat on some advisory board (Maritime Commission for the Rules of Card Games on Both Sides of the International Dateline or the Blue Ribbon Panel on the Perils of Accumulated Naval Navel Lint) as some kind of serious bribe to stay out of the Senate race. Right? I mean the whole point of Sestak spilling the beans about the “job offer” was for him to bolster his independent-against-the-machine cred. If it wasn’t a job offer but instead was some third-rate perk, he shouldn’t have pretended otherwise to seem like the one honest man in the whorehouse of politics. I hope he gets hounded by local press asking him to explain the disconnect. Something like:  “You said you were offered a job to get out of the race. This wasn’t a job. We’re you exaggerating then or are you lying now?”

I think the only reason this is a big deal is because the Adminstration is being so damn squeamish in releasing the details.  This is all going to amount to nothing in the end anyway, so can’t everybody shut up about it (and yes, I’m guilty of not shutting up about it too)?

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