Media Matters' Jamison Foser makes note of an emerging press conceit to be on the lookout for -- Blagojevich stories that seem to raise the specter of President-Elect Barack Obama being "implicated in the scandal, followed by concessions that he, you know...isn't."*
Ironically, on last night's Hannity & Colmes, the opposite occurred. On four separate occasions, it was mentioned that the raft of legal documents contained material that was "exculpatory" to Obama. Sean Hannity made mention of it, early in the show:
HANNITY: But for all of the Obama supporters out there that say Sean Hannity never gives the President-elect a break, there is exculpatory information in here that I think helps Barack Obama a ton. And let me tell you what it is. When the Governor Blagojevich says they're not willing to give me, and he was talking specifically about Obama, anything except appreciation [for giving his preferred Senate candidate the vacated seat], I would think that that works very favorably for the President-elect. The thing that works against him is what Blagojevich said the day before where, quote, "he would work with the Service Employees International Union," they'd work out a deal that would benefit Blagojevich, and that, quote, something favorable would go to the union from the President-elect in the future.
Now, of course, Hannity's second point depends on a Barack Obama who, having spurned a shady quid pro quo in the first place, would be willing to keep a shady promise to someone else at a later date. This does not seem like plausible human behavior to me, but hey, it's not like the White House has been some Temple to Plausible Human Behavior lately. The salient point is this: as far as any ongoing corruption is concerned, what Fitzgerald has put out there more or less indicates that Obama wasn't willing to participate in anything out of bounds.
Like I said, the exculpatory nature of the taped conversations came up numerous times throughout the show. Like, say, during a conversation with Mike Huckabee.
HANNITY: Obama had "Candidate 1" that he wanted, and if anything, the Governor's frustration was that Obama wouldn't give him anything. I think that's fairly exculpatory for him. On the other hand what I was talking about with Karl was that there would be favors in the future by the President-elect. So there's a lot of unanswered questions in my mind.
HUCKABEE: I think the greater issue is that the corruptible person is the Governor, I do not see that Barack Obama would be stupid enough to even worry with it.
You see how "favors" that haven't transpired yet have suddenly become done deals? And how even Mike Huckabee is feeling me, where "plausible human behavior" is concerned? Well, this must have really agitated the poisonous egg yolk inside Hannity's skull, because after a brief fusillade of complaining about Bill Ayers, Hannity returned to the topic at hand with this bit of nonsense:
HANNITY: I wonder if we're starting to see what we suspected of Barack Obama. I think the Tony Rezko issue is going to be a big problem for him. Especially since he's all over this document. The word President-elect is mentioned 44 times.
OH NOES! The word "President-elect" is in the documentation how many times? Well, that's certain damnation, isn't it? My God! What role did VERBS play in this corruption? Precisely how many definite and indefinite articles were involved? Tune in tonight, when Hannity & Colmes hashes it all out with the Fox News Forensic Grammarian!
*This is something many might say I'm guilty of myself, after yesterday's post in which I mused that the rumors that Obama and his transition team may have been aware of the ongoing investigation before his appearance on "Meet the Press" turned a throwaway line during that interview into a moment of added heat. Many of you felt I was taking a step too far and implying something beyond. I wasn't, 'twas just a musing on that interview moment, but I can see why I left that impression and regret that I was insufficiently clear.