Greg Sargent reviews the back and forth about the Sestak job nontroversy:
With the battle over the Joe Sestak mess continuing to rage, Jon Chait and Steve Benen both have posts up pushing back hard on the growing chorus of criticism and on the notion that this is any kind of scandal.
They both make strong cases. But I still think some firepower needs to be directed in the direction of Sestak and to a lesser extent the White House. Because even if you accept that there’s nothing to this scandal, the failure to say anything about it still makes it harder to push back against Republican attacks, and risks hurting Sestak and the Democratic Paty.
Benen’s post skewers the developing meme that the Sestak mess shows Obama played “party boss,” pointing out that it’s hardly uncommon for party leaders to exert behind the scenes influence over their party.
And Chait takes issue with the whole “scandal” at a conceptual level, pointing out that Obama’s promise of transparency doesn’t mean he’s obliged to reveal the contents of every single private conversation anyone in the administration ever had.
Digby, meanwhile, points out that there may be no percentage in Sestak telling us what happened, because Republicans will keep attacking no matter what he says.
I’d say those are all fair points, but they still miss the point. Just because Republicans are going to keep making a big deal out of it anyway doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the smart thing anyway, which would be to describe the details of any alleged job offer and put the matter to rest. Until he does, the story will appear to have legs, and you can expect to see more stories by high profile journalists as they start to poke around. At that point, it is no longer just Republicans making attacks- the issue gains legitimacy. Ask Dick Durbin what he thinks about this.
And make no mistake about this- Sestak did this for his own political advantage so he could run as the darling of the left (a good place to be in a Democratic primary against a former Republican), the “outsider who even the White House wants to get rid of and look at what a straight shooter I am- no one can buy me off because I am a fighter blah blah blah.” Now his stupid ass needs to clean up the mess he created, and all he has to do is back up his claim that he was offered a job, and tell us what that job was and who offered it. Ed Rendell is now calling on Sestak to talk, but that may just be Ed’s way of sticking in the shiv, because Rendell supported Specter and knows damned well that Sestak floated this information for his own personal benefit.
And you don’t get to just say “trust us, we didn’t do anything wrong.” I happen to think that this was the kind of thing that happens every day in politics and is no big deal, but now that Sestak puked this up, he should deal with it.