Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 4, 2010

NO COMPARISON.... Rob Jesmer, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, really wants you to take White House job offers seriously. In a letter to supporters yesterday, Jesmer equated the Sestak/Romanoff nonsense with the outing of an undercover CIA official during a war.

Remember how candidate Obama loved to talk about Scooter Libby? You'll remember that Scooter Libby -- along with other Bush officials -- were investigated because the Bush Department of Justice appointed an independent counsel to do so.

But when Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder was asked by every Republican Member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to appoint a special counsel to investigate the serious and documented allegations of senior White House officials doling out taxpayer-funded jobs, Holder deferred to White House Counsel Robert Bauer's vague and inconclusive "nothing to see here" two-page memo, which the White House conveniently released on the Friday afternoon before the Memorial Day holiday.

There was no indication that Jesmer was kidding.

Look, I realize Republicans are trying to pretend to be all worked up about the White House taking an interest in Democratic primary races, but they should probably avoid comically ridiculous comparisons. Darrell Issa was equating this pointless, manufactured "controversy" to Watergate, and now the NRSC is drawing parallels to the Plame scandal.

Please.

Looking over Jesmer's pitch, it's true that the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Plame scandal, but that's because there was clear evidence pointing to several felonies. The Justice Department isn't pursuing the Sestak/Romanoff nonsense because no one, anywhere, has credible evidence of any wrongdoing.

For that matter, Bush's Department of Justice ignored Democratic lawmakers who wanted a probe, and only took the matter seriously when the CIA demanded it do so. (And if Jesmer wants to talk about poorly scheduled announcements intended to keep news out of the public eye, Patrick Fitzgerald was introduced the day before New Year's Eve in 2003.)

To seriously draw a comparison here is simply crazy. In the Plame scandal, we had White House officials, anxious to discredit a former ambassador who knew the president was wrong about the grounds for a war, expose the identity of a CIA agent. Then, the White House lied about it, and tried to cover up official misconduct.

How is that even remotely comparable to the White House asking if a candidate who applied for an administration job if he still wanted it?

If this "story" were actually controversial, Republicans wouldn't have to make up fanciful, over-the-top claims like this. It reeks of desperation.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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Comments

At this point, I have to wonder if they're linking Obama non-scandals to Bush scandals as part of an effort to retroactively downplay the significance of the Bush Administration misdeeds and crimes. Attempting to equate the two (like Rove with "Obama's Katrina") in the hope that when Democrats downplay their pathetic scandal-mongering, it will contribute to an "everybody does it" mentality that will diminish any lingering effects of the Worst President Ever.

Then it almost makes sense, but it would require Republicans to be a lot more clever than they generally appear to be.

Posted by: Redshift on June 4, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

"In the Plame scandal, we had White House officials, anxious to discredit a former ambassador who knew the president was wrong about the grounds for a war, expose the identity of a CIA agent. Then, the White House lied about it, and tried to cover up official misconduct."

Strange that Fitzgerald discovered none of this. perhaps you should write him a letter!

Posted by: a on June 4, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

"It reeks of desperation."

Maybe to you, but not to Republicans. And the media are happy to present them as equivalent.

Posted by: November? on June 4, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Friday columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News, Christine Flowers, is one of the local conservative voices. Today's column was all about Sestak and the Chicago machine.

They're going to keep flogging it. If for nothing else, they want to drag down Sestak's numbers and take the PA seat back.

Posted by: Z. Mulls on June 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Now they are comparing it to Teapot Dome

Posted by: Vicki Hartley on June 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"the serious and documented allegations of senior White House officials doling out taxpayer-funded jobs"

My favorite line. Because it's undeniably true. By definition, every position in every administration is the act -- beyond allegation -- of senior officials doling out taxpayer-funded jobs. There are no other kind of government jobs.

A classic!!

Posted by: Mark on June 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Strange that Fitzgerald discovered none of this. perhaps you should write him a letter!

Here on Earth, he discovered all of this, much of it through Grand Jury testimony. My greetings to the people of your planet, though.


Posted by: trex on June 4, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush's Department of Justice ignored Democratic lawmakers who wanted a probe, and only took the matter seriously when the CIA demanded it do so."

I love it when you remember these inconvenient facts for the Republicans, Steve.

Posted by: Marko on June 4, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

This wasn't even a job was it? If by job you mean a paid position. He was simply asked if he wanted to be on an unpaid advisory commission. This is something he could do and keep his House seat.

Posted by: markg8 on June 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

@ trex: Nice link. Summary: many laws were broken, 1 person convicted (for obstruction/lying/perjury during the investigation)and nobody went to jail.

So why even start an investigation? The prez will just pardon all his friends, anyway.

Posted by: Marko on June 4, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

"...serious and documented allegations of senior White House officials doling out taxpayer-funded jobs..."

This doesn't even describe the alleged scandal correctly. The president can "dole out" jobs to anybody; the accusation is that they were doing so to interfere with the political process. Which sounds worse but is entirely normal.

Posted by: Grumpy on June 4, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Reality is what the news reports, not what history records. Not to mention that if the Cause is Pure, then by definition any actions taken to advance that cause are Pure (and naturally vice versa). Democrats = double-plus ungood!

Posted by: JohnR on June 4, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

So, let me get this straight - NOW the Repugnant Ones are claiming that the Valerie Plame "event" was a SCANDAL. Really!

I'm glad they finally figured this out.

Posted by: Mark-NC on June 4, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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