After months of evading questions, the White House appears to have confirmed that it did play a leading role in trying to get Rep. Joe Sestak to drop out of the race against now defeated Sen. Arlen Specter. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly asked former President Bill Clinton to offer an unpaid position on an intelligence board in exchange for Sestak pulling out.
While many Democrats have dismissed this as just politics as usual, I consider it a bit more serious. It is remarkable how quickly Democrats have forgiven such abuses and condemned those who object as simply naive. This is precisely what moral relativists in politics want of voters: to treat all political corruption as a fixed reality of government.
The White House is not allowed to trade government positions for political advantages. It is particularly abusive to hand out positions in the intelligence field — particularly with the continued intelligence failures of the last year. What makes this even more outrageous is that Sestak did not even quality for the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, here. It is a deal that is vintage Beltway. President Obama was supporting an establishment candidate (Specter) who switched parties for pure political convenience over a popular Democratic candidate by treating intelligence positions like party favors. The effort to protect Specter reinforces the view of a political establishment that is solely committed to the maintenance of its duopoly of control — treating voters as utter chumps. All of this was done in secret of course to leave Pennsylvania Democrats with the illusion of actually having a voice in the matter.
Yet, the White House insists that there was nothing “improper” — let alone criminal — in trading such positions for political advantage. The condemnation of such corrupt practices should not be confined to conservative commentators and GOP activists. There was a time when voters demanded more from our leaders — when there was a quaint notion of propriety in government service.
To Sestak’s credit, he refused to be bought despite his work in the Navy and interest in intelligence matters.