Flickr Photo by jmtimagesAnonymous sources have told the New York Times that Bill Clinton offered Representative Joe Sestak a deal last year to encourage him to drop out of the Senate primary in Pennsylvania in exchange for a prominent, unpaid, appointment.
Sestak declined the offer and went on to do what Democrats had been worried he might: beat Arlen Specter in the primary earlier this month.
According to the Times:
"Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation... The White House did not offer Mr. Sestak a full-time paid position because Mr. Emanuel wanted him to stay in the House rather than risk losing his seat. Among the positions explored by the White House was an appointment to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent oversight and advice the president. But White House officials discovered it would not work because Mr. Sestak could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress."
I am not naive. I am sure there are any number of "deals" going on in Washington at any time, but somehow this really rubs me the wrong way.
Obama, for his part, has insisted that "nothing improper took place" and it does not sound like anything illegal actually happened given the position offered was ultimately an unpaid one. Besides, these kinds of deals happen all the time behind the scenes.
Still, it only serves to further disillusion me. I am someone who voted for Obama and cheered his election as a moment of true hope and now it just seems like very little has actually changed. There are still unseemly things happening behind the scenes that may not be outright illegal, but that certainly do not serve the greater good of the people.
Maybe I am just naive after all.
What do you think of these kinds of deals in politics?