By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
You're a hotshot Wall Street trader, the best cowboy on the ranch, a power-hitting third baseman, or the fastest checkout clerk at the local supermarket. Word gets around. Somebody offers you a better job, a nicer shift, a richer contract, more perks. Your boss calls you in. "What will it take," she asks, "to make you stay?"
Call the FBI! Appoint a special counsel! Alert Fox News!
The all-American advantages of "leverage" have been re-defined, in this silliest of political seasons, as "bribery."
Is there anyone, outside of a few Tea Partyers, who has any understanding of American politics and doesn't know that, almost from the instant the Constitution was signed, American political leaders have dangled jobs, promotions, passage of legislation, the promise of campaign donations, exotic trips, judgeships, government contracts, and just about every other inducement to reward the faithful and shape the ticket for a party's benefit?
Does the word "patronage" mean nothing to you? It meant the world to Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, the Roosevelts and Kennedys and the rest.
Who, but the dreariest masochists, would go into politics, and leave their families for endless hours of listening to the rest of us whine, if there were not some ideological, career, or psychic benefits in the end?
The political press, having exhausted the topic of whether the Obama administration offered a job to Rep. Joe Sestak in an unsuccessful attempt to keep him out of the Pennsylvania senate race, has now moved on to Colorado, where former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was offered a choice of positions if he stayed out of the Democratic primary against Sen. Michael Bennet.
"That the White House made clear its support of Bennet in the primary is not particularly shocking," the Washington Post reports, begging the question of why they chose to print the story. "Administrations of both parties play favorites in primaries and do their best to clear the field for the candidate they believe is positioned to win a general election."
And while we are at it, can we dial down the outrage over the fact that two U.S. senate candidates--Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican--have done some padding of their military resumes? Each served their country honorably, but has apparently succumbed to the temptation, on the stump, to portray himself as Rambo.
Candidates exaggerating their attributes? No! Casting themselves as heroes? Can't be!
I'm shocked. Shocked. Round up the usual suspects.