The Obama Administration has caused a scandal by offering federal offices to two individuals in exchange for withdrawing their candidacies for the Democratic Party nomination for United States Senate in order to clear the field for Democratic candidates favored by the Administration. The offer of Administration jobs to the Democratic Senatorial candidates in Pennsylvania and Colorado were in exchange for withdrawing from the Democratic primary were a possible violation of federal law.
Barak Obama, although not allegedly corrupt personally, was supported by the corrupt Democratic Chicago machine, and refused to support a reform candidate who ran against the machine. As President, he has surrounded himself with advisers from that machine, including the most important one, his chief of staff, who practiced the “Chicago Way.” Crooked politicians are often so inured to corrupt practices that they think that such practices are legally and morally acceptable.
The jobs-for-withdrawal scandal reveals that Obama Administration officials spent their time influencing state Democratic primary elections. It is one thing to influence public opinion in order to advance a political platform, even to the point of approving a particular candidate for public office, but another thing for public officials, who are paid by the taxpayers, to interfere with a primary election, where the motivation for the inference is not to support a candidate favoring a certain plank of the platform, but which candidate would make a better nominee for his political party. Offices are apparently awarded in the Obama Administration not to the most qualified candidate, or even as a reward to a qualified, trusted supporter, but in exchange for a political favor to advance the interests of the Democratic Party.
The liberal Democrats’ defense of the Obama Administration is to ask “So what?” or say, “That is politics” or to claim “everybody does it.” However, it is not true that everyone does it. I know from my own political experience that many people involved politics are honest citizens who idealistically want better government. Others are deterred from corrupt behavior by the law. Honest candidates for public office – even for state offices – are careful to avoid appearing to promise any jobs to supporters while volunteers are careful to avoid even asking for any. Honest people know it is illegal to promise jobs in exchange for support.
It is cynical to believe in stereotypes about politicians that suggest they are all or mostly all corrupt. It is unfair to the honest ones, scares away other honest people from getting involved in politics, and, moreover, represents cynicism about people in general, as politicians reflect the general population that elects them from its ranks. Yet the Obama Administration and its supporters rely upon these cynical stereotypes in order to defend itself, which only reinforces the stereotypes. Indeed, the liberal Democrats’ defense of the Obama Administration is to declare that the Administration is no worse than any other, which is an admission that, despite promises of “hope” and “change,” it is no better than the previous Administration they harshly criticized.
The Obama Administration’s liberal Democratic supporters claim that because the jobs offered to the Democratic candidates were non-paying, no violation of the law prohibiting the offer of a job in exchange for a favor occurred, despite the language in the law covering even such non-paying posts. However, the Administration itself apparently thought that the job it offered must have been of sufficient value, regardless of the level of compensation, in order to entice the candidate to withdraw his candidacy.
Furthermore, the Obama Administration engaged in a cover-up of the jobs-for-withdrawal scandal. It gave no answer for months to repeated questioning by reporters, declaring that it either did not have any information or would get back to the reporters with information. Then suddenly, the Administration got the White House Counsel, another taxpayer-funded official, to act as the criminal defense attorney for other Administration officials and declare that the now-admitted behavior was legal. There was no explanation given by the Administration as to what took it months to admit something it regarded as legal.
Interestingly, former President Bill Clinton was the Obama Administration’s conduit for making the corrupt job offer to the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial candidate. In my next post, I shall discuss how this Obama Administration scandal is part of a pattern of Clintonian tactics and how the same cynical defense of Clinton’s corruption is being used by liberal Democrats to excuse it in the Obama Administration.