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Poll finds nobody cares about job offer "scandal"

Yes, it's Rasmussen, but this is noteworthy, since it's the first polling to gauge public attitudes towards the Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff job offer "scandals." It turns out nobody cares:

Voters express only modest concern and hardly any surprise about the secret job offers made by the Obama White House to Democratic politicians in Colorado and Pennsylvania in hopes of getting them to drop their primary challenges of incumbent senators...

44% of voters also say the job offers made to keep candidates out of closely contested state primaries are fairly typical of what politicians normally do. Just 19% say that's not true, while 37% more are not sure.

Less than one in five see the job offers as out of the ordinary. And while 32% say the offers will be "very important" to determining their vote in November, Rasmussen concludes that this is low compared to other issues. As Scott Rasmussen dismissively puts it: "Voters see business as usual."

It turns out that putting the info on the table about these job offers enabled people to see this story for what it is. So now can we say that this was politically the right thing to do?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 8, 2010; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections  
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Next: Obama's ass-kicking, in context

Comments

Van Jones was RIGHT.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 8, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This administration offered jobs to hundreds if not thousands of individuals. Hundreds have accepted job offers.

Some of the individuals were running for office, some weren't.

This is a partisan witch hunt to distract from Republicans inability to constructively contribute to the problems we face as a country.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 8, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Better late than never. I wish I had thought of ,this solution, in how to plug the oil spill, sooner.

A modest proposal:

Spread the word, that the Iraq WMD is hidden down at the bottom of the pipeline, and also that Iran has stashed some of it's nuclear development technology down the very same well hole. Then, both the US and Israeli military, will pulverize that drill hole shut, in less than twenty four hours

Posted by: Liam-still | June 8, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"As Scott Rasmussen dismissively puts it: "Voters see business as usual."

Yep - that's what Obama campaigned on: "Business as usual."

Posted by: sbj3 | June 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I said it last week:

We.Don't.Care.

The amount of coverage given to this demonstrates how out of touch D.C. is with the rest of the country.

Posted by: Beeliever | June 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I remember when this White House offered a job to a sitting Republican Senator, Judd Gregg, and he accepted.

How come the Right Wing Nuts did not call for an investigation then? Hmmmm.

The Right Winger are all a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites, who love to go into spasms of feigned outrage.

Now they are pretending that they are offended by how the opposition party conducts it' own internal primaries.

Ronald Reagan operated in the very same manner, in order to keep someone from running in a primary, and the Right Wingers have made him a saint.

The public is catching on to the feigned outrage trick, that Right Wingers have played too many times.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 8, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Yep - that's what Obama campaigned on: "Business as usual.""

Show me one example of Obama campaigning on reforming the system used to recruit candidates.

It's such a stupid argument. It's like "Well, gee I got the flu again this year....so much for 'Change you can believe in.'"

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 8, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"As Scott Rasmussen dismissively puts it: "Voters see business as usual."

Yep - that's what Obama campaigned on: "Business as usual."


For once, I agree with sbj. The fact that most voters see Obama's actions as "business as usual" is a bit troubling. It's hypocritical for republicans to act as if this is some major affront to our democracy, but we on the left have every right to take our president to task over this. Obama's political preferences should not be compromised by backroom deals.

It's not a huge deal to me and it won't affect how I vote, but these issues will affect Obama's legacy. He really had a opportunity to go down as one of our greatest presidents. I don't see any way that happens now, outside of a MAJOR crisis in which he shows Lincoln- or FDR- style leadership. So far, on the Afghan War and this oil spill, for example, he hasn't even come close.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 8, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm in between gigs but wanted to post a little brief summary of prop. 15 and why it's a yes vote from my perspective for any CA voters here. Sbj, I think you could get behind this as well, hope you're voting today. Off to GOTV.

"Prop. 15 would place a modest registration fee on state lobbyists, and use the money to provide voluntary public financing for Secretary of State candidates who are able to meet a threshold of small donations. Perhaps more important, it would repeal a restriction that currently prevents the state legislature and local municipalities from passing any laws on public financing. If the limited public financing of Secretary of State races works out, Prop. 15 would also make it easier for the state legislature to expand it to more elections."

"This alone is not the solution to the corrupting influence of big donations on politics. It’s a very modest step in the right direction. Ideally, robust voluntary public financing of all elections will allow candidates to make a viable run for office without needing to spend several hours each day begging rich donors and corporations. This would reduce the influence of deep-pocket special interests and result in more legislation to help regular Americans."

h/t Jon Walker

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If the press had done their job, and not acted like middle-schoolers, this never would have become poll-worthy in the first place.

Posted by: joeff | June 8, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"Show me one example of Obama campaigning on reforming the system used to recruit candidates."

Schrodinger, let's be real. No Obama didn't specifically run against that, but he repeatedly campaigned on changing the business as usual politics of Washington. This falls in that category. Just accept it. It doesn't mean he's a bad president, but it is a flaw.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I wonder whether they would care if these quid pro quo offers violated federal law.

I wonder why liberals like Greg are satisfied with Obama's stonewalling and self-proclamation of propriety without revealing the details.

And I wonder why Greg didn't mention other results of the survey such as those showing that only a small minority thinks Obama or his admin is more or equally ethical compared to past admins. Far more think his is less ethical.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

SD -- I agree that the meddling in primaries is troubling, and have written as much.

That said, "business as usual" is a far cry from the "scandal" this has been painted as, and given the need to get 60 votes in the Senate to enact Obama's reform agenda, it's understandable, if not admirable, that they'd try to influence the outcome of these races...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I'm definitely voting yes on 15, although I'm skeptical it would really change anything.

Also yes on 13, no on 16 and 17. I'm leaning yes on 14 but I realize it's probably going down. I haven't yet heard a rock solid reason to vote no. Any thoughts?

Posted by: SDJeff | June 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder whether they would care if these quid pro quo offers violated federal law."

Except they don't, as lawyers on both sides of the aisle have already stated.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 8, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Well said Greg, it's troubling, but it's not a scandal, even if Fox News says it is.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 8, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"This falls in that category."

I am being real and I just disagree. I don't support everything that Obama has done - he's disappointed me a lot, quite frankly - but just not in this area. With everything that's going on in this country, I could give a rat's behind that he might've offered Joe Sestak a job so that Specter could get through the primary.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 8, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

It's the Republicans who hoped Obama would be a Carter, not us.

Posted by: Beeliever | June 8, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

SDJeff, I'm on my way out the door, but here's the best I've seen on prop 14, the back story.

"In this state, the Democratic and Republican parties rarely agree on anything—but both oppose Proposition 14. Although its misleading ballot title promises to increase the "right to participate in primary elections," the measure actually imposes major new limits on voters.

By eliminating party primaries, Proposition 14 would deny all political parties—and their voters—the right to choose a nominee to run in a general election.

Instead, the top two vote-getters on a single all-inclusive primary ballot would square off in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

In the process, the measure—an amendment to the state constitution—would exclude small parties from the November ballot."

http://pdamerica.org/articles/news/2010-06-05-12-03-20-news.php

Posted by: lmsinca | June 8, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Before I forget,

I wish to offer congratulations to Rush Limbaugh on his recent fourth marriage.

I thought he showed a lot of foresight in hiring Elton John to perform at the affair.

Now, when his fourth traditional marriage fails, he can blame the gay performer for having destroyed his fourth traditional marriage.

Rush's fourth marriage, and you know what that means, it will soon lead to his fourth divorce.

Sounds like Rush is really into the rent a bride lifestyle.

Three divorce settlements, and a fourth to come, in the not very distant future.


Rush has become a Femi-Patsy!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | June 8, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: I find your posts and comments today a bit perplexing (but what's new?)

First, you write about the threat to Obama's efforts "to restore public confidence in government" as trustworthy. Then, you smirk that folks seem to expect these job offers as "business as usual." And even though you find this activity "troubling" you go on to call it "understandable, if not admirable."

To me, that seems all over the map. Why would folks find government trustworthy when the same old carp is happening even though we elected an agent of change, while his supporters call his troubling actions business as usual and admirable?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 8, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

sbj3:
"First, you write about the threat to Obama's efforts "to restore public confidence in government" as trustworthy. Then, you smirk that folks seem to expect these job offers as "business as usual." And even though you find this activity "troubling" you go on to call it "understandable, if not admirable."

To me, that seems all over the map. Why would folks find government trustworthy when the same old carp is happening even though we elected an agent of change, while his supporters call his troubling actions business as usual and admirable?"

POTD, sbj!

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 8, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

slavezkoo1:
""I wonder whether they would care if these quid pro quo offers violated federal law."

Except they don't, as lawyers on both sides of the aisle have already stated."

So you would have no problem with appointing an independent special counsel to look into these, right?

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Suekzoo, 'fraid it isn't that easy. There is a reason why the admin has refused to allow a real investigation or even disclose its own version of all the facts. There are reasons why they coordinated their response with the offerrees and based their claims of innocence on parsing words like offer and promise.

Those reasons are 18 USC 595 and 600 and the Hatch Act. Otherwise they would just have said the same thing their stooges like wbgonne say: Of course we offered federal positions in exchange for not contesting primaries and causing our party disruption and critical funds. They didn't say that because they know it would put them in grave legal jeopardy. It is a clear violation.

I have posted 600 and 595 before. So far none of the supremely confident legal geniuses here have been able to explain why they were not violated. All I've seen are evasions, like it wasn't a violation for Sestak to consider an offer, or it isnt a violation because everyone does it. But feel free to try wheee they failed.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SDJeff, what exactly is the problem with discussing potential paid or unpaid positions with qualified people, whether or not they are pursuing other positions?

There is no "there" there.

There are lots of things that I would ding Obama for from a progressive perspective, but this is not one of them.

Posted by: srw3 | June 8, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"So you would have no problem with appointing an independent special counsel to look into these, right?"

I see no need to waste taxpayer money on this issue.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You being the Ivy League lawyer that you claim to be nickel should know that investigating matters that are legal is a waste of time and resources. But, what the heck, let's start distracting another Presidency with ridiculous investigations. Maybe you wingnuts will find out that the President got a blow job sometime in his life and try to impeach him for it.

These are the kinds of things that democratic administrations should be forced to concentrate on, right?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

srw3: "There are lots of things that I would ding Obama for from a progressive perspective, but this is not one of them."

Bingo!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

quarterback:
"Otherwise they would just have said the same thing their stooges like wbgonne say"

Hey, I didn't know he'd been promoted!

Congratulations, stooge-b-gonne!

Extra turnip ration in your feed-trough tonight!

You da man!

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

All, new thread about the full context of Obama's "ass kicking" comments:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/obamas_ass-kicking_in_context.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 8, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

cmc, we're talking about violations of federal corruption statutes, not sexual harassment under the Oval Office desk.

Determining whether it was legal is the purpose of an investigation. It isn't the case as you seem to believe that it is legal when Obama does it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

As far as hiring goes, I was much more concerned when the bushies hired convicted criminal Abrams, along with serial human rights abuse concealer John Negroponte to any position let alone high level diplomatic posts.

Despite QB's ranting, there is nothing illegal for the executive branch to offer a job to anyone it wants to. The fact that the prospective candidate might have to give up what they are currently doing to take a position with the administration is standard practice.

All parties agree that in fact no jobs were offered, but possible positions on unpaid and paid positions were discussed. Unless qb has secret tapes of skulduggery that he wants to share, he should stop claiming that something illegal happened that needs an investigation. If talking about potential jobs with qualified people deserves investigation, I am sure that QB is all for an investigation of the CIA and other intelligence services experimenting with different torture regimes to see how the recipients reacted...

Posted by: srw3 | June 8, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Determining whether it was legal is the purpose of an investigation.

There has to be some reason to start an investigation and right now there is none. That is the point.

Now hiring justice dept civil servants based on their loyalty to republicans and ex president Bush is worthy of an investigation. Firing US Attorneys because they were insufficiently partisan in the cases they pursued deserves an investigation. Firing US attorneys that are in the middle of corruption investigations of republicans by a republican administration deserves some scrutiny.

Talking to people about potential jobs, not so much...

Posted by: srw3 | June 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Strat, your comments are just plain dense.

Executive can offer any job it wants to? Sure, but not for purposes proscribed by the statutes I cited.

Suppose there were a president . . . let's call him, oh, Obuma. Suppose he had, say, been pals with some Chicago crooks, one of whom had gotten him a nice deal on a fancy house, or had been pals with an unrepentant terrorist or a notorious racist, hatemonger minister.

Now suppose he offered one of these folks a federal job in exchange for their support and silence about inconvenient matters.

Or suppose a president offered a federal job to someone in exchange for his silence about a crime committed by the president, or an adulterous relationship.

You can't seriously suggest that is not a violation of 18 USC 600.

The known facts show that there clearly were jobs offered, and at the very least there are serious questions about it.

There is more than enough reason for investigation. You are just a blind partisan who believes Obama and his team can't do anything illegal, or you don't care if they did. You had your chance to explain why these statutes could not have been violated. You utterly failed.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Stupid auto correct! That was to srw.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@qb: Now suppose he offered one of these folks a federal job in exchange for their support and silence about inconvenient matters.

Nice hypothetical, but no one has even suggested that either Sestak or Romanoff exchanged support or silence for a job. Both were Obama supporters before they decided to run for office.

"Or suppose a president offered a federal job to someone in exchange for his silence about a crime committed by the president, or an adulterous relationship. You can't seriously suggest that is not a violation of 18 USC 600."

There is not even a hint of either person covering up anything having to do with the president (or anyone else), so it doesn't matter if those things violate the law because no one is even alleging that behavior took place.

"The known facts show that there clearly were jobs offered, and at the very least there are serious questions about it."

Just plain false. All sides have stated that no paid or unpaid positions were offered to either candidate.

"You had your chance to explain why these statutes could not have been violated. You utterly failed."

You had your chance to accurately describe the circumstances of the alleged wrongdoing. You utterly failed.

Posted by: srw3 | June 8, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Do wonders never cease, WaPo innuendo of Rasmussen biased polling. They have only been off from poll averages by 6%, almost as bad is Newsweek in the other direction.

Posted by: jameschirico | June 8, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

It's the Republicans who hoped Obama would be a Carter, not us.

Posted by: Beeliever |
=====================================================
Obama prays daily for the country to have the job creation and working man's income increases that occurred under Carter.
P.S. Nixon also was much better than most paint him.

Posted by: jameschirico | June 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

srw,

You are afraid of an intellectually honest argument.

"Nice hypothetical, but no one has even suggested that either Sestak or Romanoff exchanged support or silence for a job. Both were Obama supporters before they decided to run for office."

No kidding, flash. The hypothetical was given to refute your aburd assertion that Obama cannot violate the law by offering a federal job.

Which it obviously does refute. Your entire legal premise is false. The problem you face is how to distinguish offering a job in exchange for withdrawing from a primary from one of those hypotheticals.

"There is not even a hint of either person covering up anything having to do with the president (or anyone else), so it doesn't matter if those things violate the law because no one is even alleging that behavior took place."

No kidding. See above.

"Just plain false. All sides have stated that no paid or unpaid positions were offered to either candidate."

Just plain disingenuous. Of course they deny the conclusion, and they coordinated their stories (which, btw, likely constitutes obstruction of justice). But the admitted facts show offers were made to both. Their defense is just nonsensical parsing.

Nor is there any explanation for hard questions like, how could Sestak have kept his seat in Congress while serving on the intelligence board, when the rules don't allow it? Why would anyone believe Sestak would take an inconsequential nonpaid position in exchange for a Senate run? Why did he call it a high level job?

"You had your chance to accurately describe the circumstances of the alleged wrongdoing. You utterly failed."

On the contrary, the admitted facts in both cases amount to a prima facie violation of each statute. Each was offered a job in exchange for not contesting the primary. You had every chance to point out what element of a statutory violation was missing, and you couldn't. You just evaded by asserting that it wasn't a violation for Sestak to consider an offer.

You're a Democrat shill, that's all.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 8, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

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