What in the world is going on at the White House that it can't get this Joe Sestak fiasco under wraps? Has it lost all sense of damage control? The latest information coming out over the weekend is even more troubling. Did I hear correctly that the White House asked former President Bill Clinton to "feel" Mr. Sestak out on how intent he was in pursuing Arlen Specter's Senate seat and then push to see whether he'd be open to other options? Was Rahm Emmanuel working his old boss over for a Chicago-style favor?
The official line early Friday morning from la Casa Blanca is that it only asked Mr. Clinton to engage Mr. Sestak "informally." What does that mean? If you're an official in the White House, you don't do things "informally" – let alone ask a former president to engage a sitting member of Congress if he'd be willing to step aside for some political payoff and to help a washed-up waffling loser like Mr. Specter to boot.
Then later in the day another "official" position emerged. In hopes of quieting the clamor from both sides and accusations of a quid pro quo, the White House said its "hush offer" involved no money. It wasn't trying to get Mr. Sestak to take anything that was paid. No sir. Rather, he would merely be offered to sit on a board and still retain his congressional seat. That's laughable. Assuming Mr. Sestak would have been able to keep his seat in such an anti-incumbent political climate, I would be insulted if I were the Pennsylvania congressman. They didn't even think enough of him to offer something that was paid?
The White House's so-called report was a joke as well. A full-scale investigation conducted and relayed on two pages? Just because the White House's top lawyer plants his imprimatur on a hastily-crafted talking points memo doesn't absolve the administration from its questionable behavior.
Mr. Clinton's involvement alone tells anyone with a pulse the White House was trying to move Mr. Sestak off a very nice perch. We all know presidents aren't asked to lend their "personal touch" unless someone is at the end of his options and needs the high-brow nudge of a former commander-in-chief. And Mr. Clinton? This is the same guy who managed to get those in his party to vote for the largest tax increase in history in 1993. And the same president who passed sweeping trade and welfare reforms in the face of withering fire from the Left.
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