By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
There are still a couple of questions about the White House effort to persuade Rep. Joe Sestak to quit his primary campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter.
The first one that springs to mind is: Did Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who apparently dispatched his old boss, former President Bill Clinton, to do the sweet-talking, actually think the offer of an unpaid executive advisory would be at all enticing?
And does the fact that the position was unpaid imply that White House lawyers were concerned that the offer of a gainful one would have violated the law?
But let’s assume that this microscandal is about to be swallowed up by a long holiday weekend. Here’s my takeaway: In this case, at least, above-the-board honesty would have actually been smarter politics. A Research 2000/Daily Kos poll shows Sestak running ahead of GOP opponent Pat Toomey.
This isn’t to say that Toomey won’t ultimately prevail, but who could deny that Sestak, traveling as he does free of party-swapping baggage, is the more viable candidate?
Propping up Specter simply wasn’t worth the effort for the Obama White House. It was a stupid waste of energy and led to a rather silly political contretemps. The whole episode has shades of 2004, when the Bush White House swallowed the bitter pill of propping up Specter.
Both parties, now, are better off without the guy.