May 29 2010
Representative Joe Sestak had, and I mean had, one critically important trait – he was honest. He was a retired admiral who went into politics, apparently holding his nose a bit, so he could make something positiveÂ happen. It is no surprise he leans way left, because it takes a very naive leftist to think the path to change runs through the lethargic and corrupt halls of Congress. But that is what the former admiral believed, his next higher call of duty was in the well of The Senate.
If the oil spill has taught us anything, all those over-paid windbags Â in DC are as impotent as they are incompetent. Very little of value has come out of DC in years (I think President George Bush is the exception, since he burned up all his capitol making sweeping differences). And this realization is what separates the left from the right. Either you believe DC is all powerful and wise, or you realize there are no wizards and the best place to lay your confidence is the American people. Sestak has little conservative wisdom.
It is clear now what happened in the Sestak case. All you need to do is go back to the video interviews he did at the time, when his final moment of un-spun honesty burst forth. In that moment, at the end of long interview, a simple probing question was askedÂ basically off the cuff:
I prepared for the program with an outline of questions. But on that Thursday I was having a very hectic day. I was a little overwhelmed with work. I forgot to put the question in my outline. Suddenly, with 90 seconds left, I remembered!
The news business can have moments that are so unpredictable. I knew the questionwas a good one, based on some really good sources, but I was flabbergasted when Sestak said â€œYes.â€ There was no hesitation. No delay. He just said, â€œYes.â€
It was the last we would see of former Admiral Sestak, the honest man. After this moment of clarity, Sestak created a mantra for the media, one he hoped would pull his bacon out of the fire. He needed to come up with something because he had done the unforgivable – he let America in on the dirt behind the scenes of a dysfunctional, power-mad, government run amok.
So Sestak, in a lame attempt to be honest and keep the lid on the corruption, embraced his honesty. He marveled in one sentence at how he was not a normal politician because he answered honestly, yet in the second breathe he completed his transformation to the dark side, saying there was no need to understand the details.
He was caught, but he would not incriminate those he needed to be politically viable in the future. As Obiwan said of Anikan, it was then that the good man who was Joe Sestak stopped existing.
You can hear Joe’s panic in the early interviews, where he knows he needs to stop the media fire he started. But you can also hear clearly there was no mention of a advisory board or anything else. It was a high level ‘job’, it was a corrupt act he declined. He was going to DC to stop this corruption!
I have gone back and listened to radio interviews at the time, and Sestak is angry that the media will not let his mistaken moment of honesty go away. He wants to talk about anything and everything else. He knows all his ideas will be consumed and lost if that brief moment of illumination is allowed to grow to its fullest potential. So he covers up, over and over and over again.
And each time he tries to deflect and deflate the issue one has to ask why did he not use the current ‘excuse’ – that the position was as an unpaid advisory? Sestak wanted this to go away so bad, why not just tell ‘the truth’? Why not say “hey guys, the reason it is not such a big deal is because it was an innocent, perfectly legal, harmless position on some advisory board”.
The reason he did not admit then what he has confirmed now is because Joe Sestak would have had to say an outright lie if he used that excuse. He was caught telling the truth in Febraury, but in March he was not willing to openly lie to get into Congress. We know this because Byron York has discovered that the White House’s carefully crafted alibi is not going to hold up in the court of public opinion – that’s why:
In a little-noticed passage Friday, the New York Times reported that Rep. Joe Sestak was not eligible for a place on the Presidentâ€™s Intelligence Advisory Board, the job he was reportedly offered by former President Bill Clinton. And indeed a look at the Boardâ€™s website reveals this restriction:
The Board consists of not more than 16 members appointed by the President from among individuals who are not employed by the Federal Government. Members are distinguished citizens selected from the national security, political, academic, and private sectors.
As a sitting member of Congress, Sestak was not eligible for the job. And since the White House intended for Sestak to remain in his House seat, he would not have been eligible for the board after this Novemberâ€™s elections, provided he was re-elected to the House.
So we had a moment of truth, as Sestak has claimed, followed by months of deflection and culminating in the crafting of an out-and-out lie. The path to the dark side of DC politics is riddled with similar stories. Each time the person is convinced that only by going to DC can they make a significant positive impact. And only by corrupting your soul can you gain the halls of power.
Those of us who work for the Feds near DC know better. We know progress towards positive goals (such as exploring the Moon) is accomplished despite all the insipid roadblocks and barriers Congress as erected. We know it is the people working in normal, pedestrian jobs who make things happen.
There is nothing of value coming out of the bloated DC government machine, only corruption – what with the tax payer trough for the few to raid and get rich on. Joe Sestak may have begun his political journey to fix DC, but this week he was consumed by it – heart and eternal soul. He has now been consumed.
Addendum: As some conservative bloggers rightfully noted in emails on this post, Sestak must have gotten an ear full from President Clinton, which is why he needed to fix his mess. But of course, the mess is not fixed – truth seems to still be seeping out despite all the cover up effort.
Update: As Jim Geraghty notes, why send President Clinton to see if Sestak was serious about running when it was all over the newspapers he was!
Here’s an idea to test honest Joe. Ask him if the advisory board was the only offer proffered. Ask him how many times he talked to the WH or its envoys. Ask him who else he discussed the proffer(s) with who could confirm this independently? I have suspicions what the answers are to these questions, but they would be interesting to hear. BTW, Joe is doomed for the Senate now.