Whenever we see a deal being made we think about the quid pro quo - this for that. We want "transparency" - whatever that is. There is always something underneath.
Congressman Joe Sestak had been previously asked to run for Senator Specter's seat by the Senate mucky-mucks of the Democratic hierarchy. This is normal politics - see someone with potential and promote them. Congressman Sestak, an Admiral by trade, is used to this type of thing when he sees potential, he promotes it. He accepted the Democratic challenge.
They gave him their word, he gave his word back. (I think giving your word means something to this guy.)
That was before Senator Arlen Specter had his moment of doubt in faith. The White House gave its word to Specter that it would clear the Democratic Primary field. Someone forgot to tell the Admiral.
So the political scramble game ensues. "What do we have to offer the Congressman to get out?" That is the politics as usual that we all love to hate. I don't think anyone can blame the President for trying to do what he could. He is the leader of the Democratic Party; he just picked up the 60th vote in the Senate and wanted to do what he could to keep it. Cut a deal, clear the field.
Only the Congressman didn't budge.
He said no to whatever job or benefit they were offering. At a certain level, isn't this what we want? The guy can't be bought.
Had Congressman Sestak taken the deal, what would we have thought of him? If you are going to sell your soul, at least get a good price for it. He would have sold out. We hate people who sell out. He would have been done politically. He would no longer be his own man. Sestak has gotten a taste of how much fun doing constituent service is. No job that they could have offered to him would match what he really wants to do.
Sestak made a gaffe on the campaign trail when asked about this "deal". He acknowledged there was an offer. He answered the question truthfully, however, he did not elaborate. He doesn't have to. This "gaffe" may be an issue on which the fall election turns.
On Meet The Press this week David Gregory pressed the Congressman on this point. What offer? What Job? How soiled is your dirty laundry? Congressman Sestak just acknowledged an offer was made and that was it.
As a Democrat, I hope the GOP pushes this point. If they try to look at the internal political horse trading that goes on, they open themselves up to the same scrutiny. This will backfire big time on them, and the whole system. What deals are made in GOP backrooms? Ed Schultz could be on the air forever.
This also puts Sestak on such a high road that his opponent in the fall will never have a chance to catch him. If you want someone with an independent streak, why not Sestak? He stood up to his party and the President. They could not buy him off. That is a positive political commercial that would bury any opponent. The louder the GOP hot-air machine bloviates about a political deal being improper, the bigger Congressman Sestak looks for not taking it.
If the 2010 Elections are going to be about the flaws of the incumbency, this episode may be at the epicenter.