Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Non-Scandal Scandal du jour

Allegedly Obama offered Joe Sestak an appointment as Secretary of the Navy during Sestak's primary race with Arlen Specter. This is being taken by some as evidence of some sort of quid-pro-quo and thus a potentially illegal attempt by the President to influence the Pennsylvania primary race.

As Dylan Matthews and Jon Chait (among others) have noted, there really is no scandal here at all.

What's interesting to me is the fact that this isn't the first such allegation regarding a Democratic Senate primary. The Denver Post reported in September 2009 that Andrew Romanoff had been offered a plum appointment as well,

Not long after news leaked last month that Andrew Romanoff was determined to make a Democratic primary run against Sen. Michael Bennet, Romanoff received an unexpected communication from one of the most powerful men in Washington.

Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions, according to several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post.

Romanoff turned down the overture, which included mention of a job at USAID, the foreign aid agency, sources said.

Then, the day after Romanoff formally announced his Senate bid, Obama endorsed Bennet.

This wasn't news in September and it isn't news now. Can you just hear Kent Brockman now? "Politicians attempt to influence elections - details at 11!"

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