… Arlen Specter, a five-term member of the Senate who left the Republican Party in 2009 to become a Democrat. The rare Republican-to-Democrat switch was in response to polls indicating that Specter would lose to conservative Pat Toomey in the 2010 GOP primary.
Specter’s willingness to abandon the party that had repeatedly “fallen on its sword” for him for more than thirty years left Barack Obama and congressional Democrats salivating with glee… and for good reason. Specter’s defection represented far more than just one more vote on the Democrat side of the aisle. It represented the all-important 60th vote that would give them the filibuster-proof Senate they needed to force Obama’s neo-fascist agenda through Congress.
Of course, the significance of his defection was not lost on Specter. One of the conditions he reportedly placed before the Democrats was his desire for a clear shot at the 2010 Democratic nomination. He did not want a primary opponent and, judging from the slavering obeisance of the Democratic hierarchy, from Obama on down, it seems clear he was given that assurance.
Most politicians understand that, while a switch from Democrat to Republican is almost always a “wash” (Democrats will hate and despise the defector, while Republicans will welcome him/her as one might welcome a recovered alcoholic), almost no one respects a turncoat who switches from Republican to Democrat. In Specter’s case, his defection only confirmed what Republicans had always suspected about him, while those in the Democratic Party would always question his motives… continuing to think of him as a “closet” Republican.
However, now that Sestak has won the primary and Specter can slither off to wherever it is that old liberals go when they are no longer a danger to society, Sestak has confirmed what he has been saying for months, which is that the White House offered him a top-level government job if he would agree not to run against Specter. In a February 2010 interview with
Philadelphia newsman Larry Kane, Sestak was asked, “Were you ever offered a job to get out of this race?” Sestak, clearly a poor liar and completely caught off guard, answered, “Yes.”
Kane asked, “Was it Navy Secretary?” Sestak replied, “No comment.”
Sestak said that he “was called many times,” asking him to pull out. Then Kane asked, “So you were offered a job by someone in the White House?” Sestak answered, “Yes.”
If Sestak was offered a top position in the Obama Administration, it is all but certain that the proffer would have come through either Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod. And since it is unthinkable that Obama would allow even his most trusted
Chicago henchmen to bargain away a cabinet-level or a sub-cabinet-level position without his personal okay, there is no doubt that Obama himself approved the offer… and that equates to an impeachable offense.
Now it appears that Obama and Sestak finally have their stories straight… or so they thought. After months of Sestak claiming that he had been offered a top level job; after months of stone-walling by the White House; after an Oval Office meeting between Obama and Bill Clinton; and after a telephone call from the White House to Sestak’s brother, briefing him on the details of the story that the Obama staff had concocted, we now have an admission by the White House that it was Clinton, the impeached former president, who transmitted the bribe offer to Sestak.
As the story goes,
Clinton reportedly reminded Sestak that a primary run against Specter would be a “tough” campaign, and suggested to him that an appointment to an “unpaid” position on a presidential advisory board might be available. With Obama, the crown prince of the most corrupt political machine in
America in the role of “fixer-in-chief,” and Clinton, the poster boy for southern redneck politics serving as his “bag man,” the Sestak affair begins to read more and more like a Faulkner novel.
But these questions will all be sorted out by the politicians and the courts, with a little help from the media and from the blogosphere. A far more interesting question is this: Why would a man who graduated second in his class at
Annapolis, who rose through the ranks to become a three-star admiral, retire from military service to enter elective politics as a Democrat?
Given the vast moral, ethical, and cultural gulf between Democrats and Republicans, it seems totally inconsistent that intelligent and capable men such as Wesley Clarke and Joe Sestak… both of whom spent their careers in a profession where a core belief in duty, honor, and integrity governed their every thought and action… would then do a complete reversal, devoting their lives to a political party which embraces hypocrisy, moral flexibility, and ethical ambiguity.
Democrats are, individually and collectively, people who want something from government, while Republicans are generally people who look to government as a force for protecting the lives and property of individuals and for creating an atmosphere in which individual citizens can achieve their highest potential. And whereas Republicans see politics as a means to an end, the means by which we establish government, Democrats tend to view politics as an end in itself.
So why would men such as Clarke and Sestak attach themselves to the Democrat Party? In a recent communication with readers I asked their opinion on that particular question. The consensus was that, since Democrats are considered weak on national defense (many may even appear to despise the military), they find themselves desperately short on military credentials. Consequently, military men such as Clarke and Sestak, both highly ambitious, may feel that they will be a more valuable commodity to Democrats than to Republicans.
In reviewing Sestak’s Navy career, we find that he had his ups and downs, politically. He was a two-star admiral in 2001 when then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark, assigned him the task of anticipating what the Navy of the future might look like. Sestak, who served the Clinton Administration as a senior policy official at the National Security Council in the mid-90s, when the number of Navy ships was reduced from 550 to approximately 300, proposed further cuts in the size of the Navy, including an additional reduction of about 60 ships.
It was not an idea that was well received among the Navy officer corps. After being appointed Deputy Chief of Naval Operations in October 2004, Sestak held that position for just nine months. Then, in July 2005, following Admiral Mike Mullen’s appointment as Chief of Naval Operations, one of his first acts was to dismiss Sestak. The reason, according to the Navy Times, was a “poor command climate” created by Sestak.
After being released from the Navy, Sestak entered the 2006 campaign for
Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District seat against incumbent Curt Weldon, winning that normally Republican seat with 56.4% of the vote. However, as a member of Congress, Sestak continued to have a passion for “doing more with less.” According to a 2007 article in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, former Sestak staffers complained that they were “expected to work seven days a week, including holidays, often 14 hours each day, going for months without a day off.”
A Capitol Hill veteran recalled, “There is a revolving door in his office, not just because of the long hours, but also because he is not particularly nice or supportive of his staff… I’m sure he would say he is demanding, just as he was in the military, on both the giving and receiving end. To staffers on the Hill, though, he is a guy to avoid unless you are desperate for a job.”
Now, after just three years in Congress, Sestak finds himself embroiled in the battle of his life. Having left the strict regimentation of the Navy culture, immediately immersing himself in the rough-and-tumble Chicago/Arkansas-style politics of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, he is fast learning the truth of the old adage that, when one lies down with dogs, one gets up with fleas.
Anyone who believes that Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel would use an impeached former president to deliver a bribe offer to a retired Navy admiral, a current member of Congress, a man with his eyes on the U.S. Senate… offering him a dime-a-dozen appointment to a presidential board or commission, if only he would step aside in deference to Obama’s chosen candidate… is smoking something much stronger than Marlboros.
In his written statement describing the Obama-Emanuel-Clinton-Sestak bribe offer, White House Counsel Robert Bauer said, “There have been numerous reported instances in the past when prior Administrations – both Democrat and Republican, and motivated by the same goals – discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office. Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.”