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Hullabaloo


Friday, May 28, 2010

 
Blame The Victim, Giggle Like Schoolgirls

by digby

As far as this Sestak matter going away, I think MSNBC and the Politico is probably are probably good gauge of Village sentiment. Here's Eamon Javers on Andrea Mitchell's show:

Mitchell: They've dumped this out on a quiet Friday in Washington, which is not unusual, the president alluded to it yesterday ...

Javers: (laughter)Friday night news dump...

Mitchell:And the president didn't want to go into details yesterday, but interestingly, the president was with former president Bill Clinton at the White House yesterday, they had lunch, they had an event with the world soccer team, so they certainly had a chance to discuss what was going to be announced. [Uh oh -- were they "getting their stories straight?"]

First of all, the Bob Bauer memo, it says that the White House did not discuss these options for an unpaid job [read portion of the memo]

Therefore, they're talking about an unpaid position, not secretary of the Navy as has been alleged, they have concluded that the allegations of something improper or illegal are just not true. Is this going to put it to rest? Not as far as Republicans are concerned.

Javers: Yeah, I think Republicans are going to be pretty skeptical here. But it looks like the White House has settled on the politics as usual defense, I mean Bob Bauer in the this memo says that president throughout history have offered to toss bones like to politicians to redirect their ambitions in a politically convenient way for the White House and is nothing new.

Now the problem politically for President Barack Obama is that he promised to be the president who wouldn't do politics as usual in Washington and now here they are copping to that in the Bob Bauer memo.

The other sort of tricky thing here for the White House, is if this is all it is, something as innocuous as Bill Clinton reaching out over the summer to Joe Sestak, why haven't they been willing to say this ...

Mitchell: Exactly!

Javers: ... since Sestak first made these allegations in February? They've been very, very squirrely about this and they haven't wanted to provide any official readout or timeline at all on who said what to whom here. Now we're getting a sort of condensed version of all that a day after Obama and Clinton had a chance to meet, as you said, personally. So there's some question here about why, if there's just this, why didn't we hear about this much,much sooner than today, the Friday before a holiday week-end.

Mitchell: And a day after the White House reached out to Richard Sestak, who was the campaign manager for his younger brother Joe Sestak.

Javers: right

Mitchell: Uh, they do point out correctly that the nomination for secretary of the Navy had been made and confirmed a month before Arlen Specter even switched parties, so it seems to me really ham-handed that they didn't come out right away and say "that offer was never made." The only possible reason is that they couldn't be sure what the former president might have said. I mean they're talking about a conversation between former president Bill Clinton and Joe Sestak. they don't have great relations with Joe Sestak and they may not have been sure of everything that was said.

Javers: That's right, except that it looks like Rahm Emmanuel, from this chain of events, was the one who asked Bill Clinton to reach out to Joe Sestak. It's not like Rahm Emmanuel had no idea this was happening and it came out of the blue. The Obama white house was clearly involved in setting this up. If they were involved in setting it up, they presumably could have been involved in figuring out what was said during that phone call. It wouldn't have taken all that much investigating for them to call Bill Clinton and ask him. he does take their phone calls. So there's a lot of mystery here in the timeline on all this, but it looks like the White House is arguing now that there was nothing legally improper, that this was just typical politics as usual and they don't have to worry about any special prosecutor going forward.

Mitchell: Yeah the last thing Bill Clinton wants to hear is the word "special prosecutor."

Javers: Yoooou better believe it.

Mitchell: You could not come up with a worse perfect storm than that.

Javers: hahaha

Mitchell: You can't make this up. This may be politics as usual, but this is politics played so ham handedly, it's a lot worse than usual in terms of the amount of finesse involved. Thank you very much. You'd think that these guys were pros at it...
This reminds me of the Gore coverage. They justified their puerile attacks by saying he deserved what he got for being a stiff and boring poll who didn't parry the nonsense that the GOP freakshow was throwing at him and that disqualified him for the presidency. Hazing politicians on behalf of GOP operatives really should not be part of our political press coverage. It rewards the worst kind of politicians who have more "savvy" than integrity and perpetuates a political system that creates incentives to damage and destroy people on the basis of trivial nonsense, thus obscuring the very serious substance of their business. This really isn't a parlor game and politicians should not rise or fall based upon how they anticipate and deal with the GOPs mendacious machine, which is designed solely for the purpose of ruining their enemies.

My favorite thing about the exchange above is their wide-eyed wonder at why in the world the administration and Sestak didn't just "come clean" to begin with --- right after they slammed them for "politics as usual" and sniggered and smirked over Bill Clinton being involved. They had to hope it blew over because they knew they were screwed no matter what they said. That's just how these things work. Issa kept it up, Sestak won, the press is mad at the white house -- et voila. (And now Bill Clinton is involved and they are breathless with arousal)

It may go away, but you can be sure that Issa and his minions will do everything they can to make sure it doesn't. And if the press decides this is too much fun to let go of, they have settled on the excuse that even though nothing illegal took place, "ham handedness" should be a crime and therefore Obama and Sestak are to blame for this assault because they were asking for it. Same as it ever was.

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