Human nature dictates that when people find they are rarely, if ever, paying the consequences for whatever questionable actions they are engaging in, chances are, and they will continue to practice these questionable actions without a thought.
The White House and Congressman Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat, continue to tell Americans the conversations between the two parties (via Bill Clinton by direction of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) regarding Mr. Sestak’s dropping out of his primary race against Senator Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat in exchange for a job (later called an unpaid appointment), amounted to simple small talk that really did not mean much. Mr. Sestak went on to defeat Mr. Specter; the administrations pick to win the Democratic Senatorial primary in Pennsylvania. The White House only came out with a statement admitting a job offer to drop out of the race was made to Mr. Sestak, but the admission was questionable considering many months prior an initial inquiry on the matter was made by Congressman Darrell Issa, California Republican.
If the White House was only juggling the Sestak issue, it would be one thing, but Republicans saw the administration’s Achilles’ heel was the need to meddle in state elections and political appointments. This was especially obvious after former Illinois Governor Democrat Rod Blagojevich bucked the White House and his Party and appointed Roland Burris to President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in 2009.
Early Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted to reporters that the White House also stuck its nose into the Democratic Senatorial Primary race in Colorado between Andrew Romanoff and Michael Bennet. Denying anything untoward happened, Mr. Gibbs pretty much told reporters White House staffer Jim Messina offered Mr. Romanoff two possible federal positions in exchange for dropping out of the race. Hot Line reports:
Last year, the deputy WH CoS discussed 2 USAID posts and a US Trade and Development Agency job with ex-CO House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), if only Romanoff would drop his challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet (D), Romanoff said in a statement last night. It is the second time in as many weeks that the WH will have to answer questions about using the offer of admin posts to clear a Senate primary field.
In a statement released early this morning, WH Press Sec. Robert Gibbs said the WH had done nothing wrong. “Andrew Romanoff applied for a position at USAID during the Presidential transition. He filed this application through the Transition on-line process. After the new administration took office, he followed up by phone with White House personnel,” Gibbs said. “Jim Messina called and emailed Romanoff last September to see if he was still interested in a position at USAID, or if, as had been reported, he was running for the US Senate. … Messina wanted to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters.
The White House appears to be brushing this off, saying Mr. Romanoff was applying for the jobs they were offering him anyway, but that is not the point. The White House not only offered Mr. Romanoff the jobs at USAID but also the extra urging to drop out of his primary race should he accept one of those jobs. That is a big difference.
Not likely begging the President to come and campaign in their districts this election season, a number of Democrats are not particularly desirous of being ordered around by a White House whose oval office occupant is losing popularity by the day. 2008 is long past and expecting state and local Democrats to fall on their swords and cover for the administration is a lot to ask for now.