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While I've been in China, many people back home were arguing over whether the Obama administration might have offered Joe Sestak a job in return for skipping the Senate race. Or maybe not. Or maybe it was just an advisory role. Or maybe not. Or maybe the White House was trying to see if Sestak was leveraging his campaign in order to get an administration job. Or, again, maybe not.

I confess to being totally baffled by this controversy. Before I went to China, it was certainly my impression that one of the ways that administrations got people to do what they want was to offer ambassadorships and appointments to them and their allies. I was also under the impression that I didn't come up with this idea: It's a mainstay of pretty much all fiction and film that involves the White House. So what's going on? Are people just pretending to be offended? Or am I just a cynic beyond my years?

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 11:49 AM ET
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There is no "there" there. This is just typical Repiglican rumor and innuendo mongering, trying to tar Obama and dem candidates with "scandal" even when there is no scandal. Villager stuff.

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You are being a cynic.....if this was the Bush Administration, you would be all over this like white on rice! Even if it is "legal", it is just not right! So much for "transparency" and "change!" As David Byrne would say: Same as it ever was!

visit: hppt://

Posted by: my4653 | June 3, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"if this was the Bush Administration, you would be all over this like white on rice! "

If what the Obama administration did was impeachable, then Rep. Issa might want to consider retroactive impeachment action against Ronald Reagan, whose White House directly suggested to S.I. Hayakawa that he would get an administration position if he would stay out of the Republican primary for Senate in California; or call for an investigation and special prosecutor of the Bush White House for discussing a Cabinet post with Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska to clear the field for their preferred Republican candidate Mike Johanns in 2006. At the same time, Issa might want to call for expulsion of his Senate colleague Judd Gregg, who insisted before he accepted the post of Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration that there be a guarantee that his successor, appointed by a Democratic governor, be a Republican.

Read more:

I guess all of these caused the huge MSM firestorm that my4653 says happens when repubs do this kind of thing. Oh wait...

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

While I'm pretty sure Democrats would being doing exactly what Republicans are doing in this situation, given the opportunity (Sestak started this firestorm, after all), Republicans have done this sort of thing (bribing with appointments and ambassadorships). And so have Democrats. Since the beginning of the country, literally. Federalists were doing it for themselves, back in the day.

Oddly, srw3's answer is the correct. Not, "Oh, no, we didn't do anything like that, definitely not," it should have been, "Look, we offered him the job because (a) he was qualified and (b) we needed him here, not running in PA. If that seems terrible, then may we remind you . . . " and then go through the list.

How is this morally wrong? Who is hurt? How is it a betrayal of the public trust? It's an administration trying to arrange things so they can get the most done, in their opinion. They aren't stuffing ballot boxes are sending goons to people's houses. Not only is it not illegitimate, it really shouldn't be an issue.

More than filibusters or holds, this sort of nonsense makes it truly impossible to govern.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 3, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

as already said, there is no there there. the GOP are just playing IOKIYAR and some reporters including some from prestigious outlets are just creating stories out of nothing ,reminds me of the teleprompter stories.

Posted by: gwbc | June 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff (D) has also announced a payoff attempt by the White House.

In general, the tactic is effective in choking-off the will of voters. As an example, the PPACA passed only because of the votes of Senate appointees filling seats vacated by Senators moving into Obama Administration posts: left to the will of the majority of voters, the PPACA would have failed.

The good news is that moderate Democrats are, in each race so far, ousting members of the party's progressive faction.

Posted by: rmgregory | June 3, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The White House actions with regard to Sestak and Romanoff are not illegal, impeachable, or unethical.

They are "Politics as Usual" instead of "Change We Can Believe In".

Posted by: jnc4p | June 3, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

This might be a preemptive strike in the Florida elections. The Florida race is shaping up as Crist vs Rubio, and Meek (the Dem candidate) is just muddying up the waters and hurting Crist's chances. To prevent a Tea Party victory and derail the GOP's Great Brown Hope,a logical move would be to ask Meek to drop out and leave the road clear for Crist, either as an independent or as a party-switching Dem. All this noise about a political party interfering in politics makes it unlikely that the Democrats will do that and extremely probable that there would be a cranky voter backlash if they did.

Posted by: 7jim | June 6, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

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