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On Sestak v. White House: Crime Isn't the only issue

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The narrative on the White House's influence on the Democratic Senate Primary Race in Pennsylvania for 2010, has had a hard time getting squared. For a minimum of ten weeks Mr. Sestak ran his primary campaign on the notion that he was on the outs with the White House. He was independent. He was a man that Pennsylvanians could "trust" because he was "willing to stand up even to the President."

For ten weeks he continually bragged about how he turned down a "job" (to be specific) offered to him by the White House to not directly oppose Obama's favored candidate in the primary race.

As the issue continued to be pondered in the media the questions flourished. As the White House attempted to brush under the rug, any need for an independent look into the matter, Americans began to perk up their ears on what the potential conflict might be. And as the White House promised an explanation, the same day they were lunching with President Clinton, who less than 24 hours later would be implicated in the controversy, something truly began to stink.

Of course given enough time behind closed doors, two or even three people can invent a narrative that would suit their purposes. Of course issuing that narrative, not allowing White House spokespersons to veer from its written words would help "control" the story on a Friday afternoon before a major holiday.

Like so many careless things this President and his team have done politically, it seems the slop-job on cleaning up after the Sestak mess is getting messier than the oil spill in the gulf, and for good reasons. The story Joe Sestak told for ten weeks on the campaign trail, is very different from, the most recent report released by the White House on Friday. Pulling Bill Clinton in, one of the most well documented liars in elective political history, to be the fall guy is an easy way out. But not an explanation that seems all that credible.

As it has been examined in the past 48 hours or so even more questions begin to now emerge.

Why does the White House Memo refer to discussions--plural--if the story is that President Clinton had only one contact with Sestak?

Why doesn't the White House Memo clearly state that no job was in fact offered quid pro quo? Does not even the leaving of this large loophole in the middle of their own explanation allow them the legal room to maneuver even more if the public pressure becomes hotter rather than cooling off?

Rush Limbaugh

And most damning of all, if the explanation was as simple as a call from Bubba to Pennsylvania Joe, why couldn't Robert Gates have answered that question two months ago when he was asked daily for a period of weeks from the press as to the specifics of what had happened?

These questions are not satisfactorily answered by what many in the legal field are now calling the "whitewash memo" from the White House.

The final portion of this narrative, "It's not really criminal anyway, after all, it's only a misdemeanor," is the least satisfying portion of this entire saga.

The voters of Pennsylvania, most likely feel as though they've been dealt with quite dirty. At the very minimum clear evidence that the White House did indeed attempt to influence their choices and manipulate the outcome of a Senate race exists. An attempt to use his bully pulpit and all the resources that come with it, demonstrated that President Obama would use his power in a corruptive way to generate an outcome of his choosing--not the voters.

The fact that Rahm Emmanuel and Bill Clinton are also attached to this story only belie the likelihood of monkey business, not the assurance of its absence. After all it was these two characters that took great delight fifteen years ago to put the legal system through tortured distortions of things like the word "is."

Breaking laws is not the only way to injure a hurting nation. Acting unethically is not strictly defined by acting illegally. The voters of Pennsylvania deserve to know the entire set of facts and as such should demand in their own state's interest an independent investigation, whether the feds look into it or not. If it turns up nothing, then they may have the confidence to vote for Sestak in November without fear.

But if the White House stalls, delays, disallows, or disrupts an investigation undertaken by the feds or the State of Pennsylvania then the only and last resort Pennsylvanians will have is to vote for Pat Toomey in overwhelming numbers to assure that their choice is executed without manipulation.

Crimes don't have to be committed for wrong doing to be exposed, and whether or not what the White House did was a felony, misdemeanor, or a legal act, there can be no dispute that, "We the people" were thwarted and that maleficent political action must be accounted for.

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