In case you've been mesmerized by the BP spillcam livefeed for the last few weeks, here's a short recap of the stories: Democrat Representative Joe Sestak says that last year, he was offered a job in the administration if he would stay out of the Pennsylvania Democrat Primary against Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Democrat Arlen Specter. He says he declined the offer. Sestak went on to defeat Specter, and after the news media finally started suggesting something might be wrong with all this, the White House floated the story that Rahm Emanuel cajoled Bill Clinton to discuss certain "advisory board" or "council volunteer" type slots with Sestak. Since, they say, none of the positions were paying, nothing of value was offered so there's no quid pro quo there.
Later, it was also revealed that a second Democrat primary opponent of an Obama ally in the Senate received similar overtures. Andrew Romanoff is running against Colorado's Michael Bennett, a fairly reliable supporter of the Obama White House.
Naturally, neither the White House nor any of the major players here are going to tell the whole story. For example, Mr. Sestak was technically ineligible for any administration job, paid or voluntary, as long as he served in Congress. And, why call in the only other big kahuna in the Democrat party to offer such a small position to such a small player? Clinton goes to North Korea to free prisoners and Haiti to raise relief money. He's not the kind of hardware you'd go to when you're working a dirty little backroom deal.
Yes, these deals stink to the high heavens. Yes, they are the complete antithesis of what you'd expect from what was supposed to be the most transparent administration in history. Yes, it's another example of nasty, backroom politics that has alienated millions of Americans and given rise to a party base that hasn't been this motivated to go to the polls since... 1998.
Please recall that from January 1993 through the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress, Republicans in both chambers howled about alleged dirty dealings of the Clinton White House. In 1995, some of the first actions taken by the new Republican majorities were to launch all manner of Congressional investigations. Subpoenas flew like confetti. Hearing after hearing after hearing was conducted. Special Counsels were appointed, who dug into all manner of charges and allegations of wrongdoing. Three years later, after having failed to muster the political capital to oust a sitting, politically damaged but still publicly popular President, the GOP finally had their
Should the GOP take one or both houses of Congress in the upcoming 2010 election, the events of the 1990's should present valuable lessons to the party brain trust. First, as sleazy as the other guys seem to be, the public views endless investigations, hearings and salacious allegations as partisan politics gone wrong. This is not "doing the people's work," which is to restore fiscal responsibility, protect our borders, develop an economically sound energy policy, prosecute a pro-American foreign policy and get government off of Main Street's back. Secondly, as sleazy as the other guys seem to be, there won't be a smoking gun. There will be no transcript of a conversation. No tapes. No notes. No memos. No... evidence of a crime. The players aren't telling the whole story, but they've created what amounts to reasonable doubt.
Spending months on end holding hearings and conducting investigations will have very little political payout. The best Republicans can hope to do--even with a majority in one or both houses--is draw a little political blood. You're gonna spend my time and money on that? Really? Did you learn nothing from the 1990's?
Call in the dogs, already. This hunt is over.
Extra Point: Conservatives have to choose their battles carefully. Despite this being a center-right country, we will never have the mainstream media on our side and we have completely lost pop culture. Nevertheless, the Chris Christie and Scott Brown elections show that Republicans win on issues that appeal to the center-right, not stuff that drives the centrists right into the arms of the sleazy other guys.
Gimme some feedback in the comments.