Sunday, June 06, 2010

The elite like knows we are stupid.

Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, summarizes the sheer unbelievability of the White House story they didn’t break the law offering Congressman Joe Sestak a job to not run against Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. The White House made its offer at the very time it badly needed Specter to leave the Republican party to become the Senate’s 60th Democratic vote, providing Obama a filibuster-proof Democratic majority. As Lowry wrote:
The [White House] document suggests that, at [its] behest . . . Clinton offered Sestak an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board to get him to stand down.

[Clinton] might have had better luck if he'd offered him a choice Capitol Hill parking space. For a sitting congressman and former three-star admiral like Sestak, a spot on an advisory commission would [be] a nuisance to be avoided rather than a plum to be coveted, let alone at the price of his senatorial ambitions.

It's almost inconceivable that practiced political hands like Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff behind the gambit, would have considered such a trifle sufficient enticement to sway Sestak. Besides, the advisory role doesn't jibe with Sestak's words or body language over the last three months, all of which suggested he'd been offered a real, honest-to-goodness job - you know, one with a salary and maybe even health benefits and an office.

Larry Kane, the host of a Philadelphia public affairs show, first asked Sestak about the rumored White House approach back in February: "Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?" "Yes," Sestak said. "Was it secretary of the Navy?" "No comment," Sestak replied. "Was it high-ranking?" Sestak said it was, which implies something more than glorified volunteer work.

I try to understand what’s going on here. Nixon lied about Watergate and it cost him his job. Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky, and was impeached and disbarred for doing so. Why does Obama’s White House tell such a tall tale about offering Joe Sestak an unpaid presidential advisory board position, when it’s clear he was offered a real job? Are we supposed to be stupid?

I believe the truth is immaterial to these folks for three reasons: 1) elite status means you make the rules, so breaking the rules you make means little; 2) members of the elite treat each other with the respect they have earned, protecting their own status by protecting the status of other elite members, and; 3) the elite’s collective power, combined with the votes of special interest groups who have thrown in their lot with the elite because of the edge they get over rival special interests, seems sufficient to control the elective process.

Put another way: 1) the media, the elite’s propaganda arm, will leave unchallenged the White House claim it offered Sestak an unpaid job; 2) Democrats, the elite's party, will brand as “Republican partisan” any outsider who challenges the approved story, while Sestak (now the Democratic nominee, having defeated Specter,) keeps his mouth shut, thereby keeping clear his path to the Senate, and; 3) the White House, confident of elite support, actually does believe those beyond its control don't have the clout to mount an effective rebuttal.

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