Steven [is one of] of the most intellectualy dishonest political ideologues I have ever seen.
No posts about Sestak.
No posts about Romanoff.
No posts about Blago.
If these three had ties to an administration with an “R” after the names of the major players, you both would be frothing at the mouth.
Last first: Blagojevich is a bad joke that gets worse with each retelling. He’s going on trial now, there’s every likelihood he will be convicted, and that will be that. His case seems an aberrant case of arrogance and corruption and I haven’t written about it because I don’t really see it’s application to the wider debate. I haven’t written about Mark Sanford either, and for the same reason–I feel that these cases lack wider relevance, except perhaps in the area of hypocrisy, and we have no shortage of that.
As for Sestak and Romanoff, all I keep thinking about is that these kinds of negotiations have been part of American history from the beginning. Alexander Hamilton got his debt assumption plan through Congress by making an agreement with Thomas Jefferson at a 1790 dinner that the national capitol would be moved from Philadelphia to the South. The spoils system goes back to Andrew Jackson. When Salmon P. Chase seemed to be emerging as a possible 1864 rival (besides being kind of annoying), Lincoln gave him something else he really wanted–Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. How do you think Lyndon Johnson got to be Vice-President when the Kennedy’s hated him? Same thing for John Nance Garner and FDR, and perhaps it’s the way that Hillary Clinton got to be Secretary of State–they had votes to trade, and a deal was arranged. This may or may not be the way it should be, but it’s the way it is.
We have a system in which the head of state is also the head of his political party, and has a whole lot to gain by making sure his party is run in a way that supports his efforts. If the law that everyone gets so exercised about in these cases was intended to make the executive branch utterly non-political, that would be a pretty big deal, one that would reshape our entire way of doing things… and we all slept through it until now. Even if that is the intention of the law, it’s just not functional. The head of a political party can’t be prohibited from discussing the deployment of his party’s resources in an election.
The penalty for this, by the way, would be a fine and/or a year in jail. The law doesn’t quite treat its own violation as a misdemeanor, but it seems pretty close. Now, I am appalled by the meddling in these races, not because I think the meddling amounted to a bribe, but rather because I object to the administration’s siding with incumbents and not wanting to gamble on an upgrade, particularly in the Spector race.
Wake me up when someone outs a CIA operative for political gain. Until then, I will continue to criticize this administration, as I have been criticizing it, but for its legitimate failings… And one other thing. There are few arguments I dislike more than “Hey, you didn’t kick when your guy did it!” which in this case has been employed in defense or rendition–except it’s not a defense, it’s just a pollution of the discussion with accusations of hypocrisy. If I present you with a wrong, and you present me with a wrong, well, now we have a pile of two wrongs. It’s not football; the penalties don’t offset.