Thursday, May 27, 2010

Will the Sestak Bribe Offer Be Obama's Watergate?

"Stonewalling" is a word that anyone who lived through the Nixon Watergate era is very familiar with. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) acknowledged as far back as last February that he was offered a job by an unnamed White House official if he would drop out of the Senate race against Arlen Specter--an offer which would be a felony and could lead to impeachment, depending on "what Obama knew and when he knew it."

White House mouthpiece Bob Gibbs has been doing his usual snarky job of non-answer answering on this question. Here's a compilation of his answers up to the end of last month, which consist mainly of telling reporters for weeks that he would "look into" the matter and then finally saying "I'm told that whatever conversations have been had are not problematic." Right, Bob. Whatever you say. [By the way, is this maroon ever going to quit wearing pink ties? I've told him before that they make his face look even hammier than normal. But I digress.]

Then there's the recent statements from ObamaTeam's stonewaller-in-chief, David Axelrod. Let's see, did he call Sestak a liar? What he said was that there is "no evidence" that White House officials tried to keep Sestak out of the race by offering him a high-ranking government job. "When the allegations were made, they were looked into," said Axelrod in his best passive-voice construction. "And there was no evidence of such a thing." You can bet your ass there's "no evidence"--no one is ever going to find Oval Office tapes of conversations in Obama's White House like they did in Nixon's. That's a very clever parsing of words there, David. But . . . then didn't he just call Joe Sestak a liar? And who is Joe Sestak, anyway? Well, for starters he was a member of the United States Navy for over 30 years. Oh--and he was also a three-star Vice Admiral and the highest ranking former military officer currently serving in Congress. Huh. Joe, do you not know how to play the game? You're not supposed to tell the truth about this stuff.

When asked on NBC's Meet the Depressed last Sunday if he was offered a job to get out of the race, Sestak answered the question this way: "I learned, as I mentioned, about that personal accountability in the Navy . . . . I was offered a job, and I answered that. Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about."

Well, I'm not sure his answer really meets a very high "personal accountability" standard, but going on from there, "others" are talking about this. Several GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding an investigation into whether or not the bribe offer violated Federal law. Signers of the letter: Republican Senators Jeff Sessions, Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham, Tom Coburn, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, and Orrin Hatch.

So far, ObamaTeam is refusing to provide more details--"Move along, nothing to see here." As I recall, Nixon's White House did the same thing--for a long time. Watergate for the longest time didn't seem like it was going to go anywhere. We'll keep an eye on this and see how it shakes out. I'm not terribly hopeful, however. These are Democrats, remember--double standard, and all that. There will be no Woodward and Bernstein on this story.

Except . . . here's the Los Angeles Times, no less, admitting that this story has legs. Really. The headline--"Karl Rove: Joe Sestak's lying or he's protecting a felon in Barack Obama's White House." The LA Times says, "The public and the media are not buying the White House's self-cleansing, self-serving explanation that everything was appropriate, just move along."

Here's the LA newspaper (does anyone still read it, though?) quoting Karl Rove: "One of two things is true, you can't have two things true. Either Joe Sestak is lying and he was not offered a position in the administration in return for getting out of the primary. You know he's a liar, in which case not worthy of public service. Or, he's telling the truth, in which case somebody inside the White House committed a felony. 18usc211 says that a government official cannot promise a job in return for anything of value, and it has a long list of values." Says Rove, in his "characteristically blunt" way: "Either you're a liar, Joe Sestak, or you're protecting a felon." Oops. That could be a problem.

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