Dec 13 2008
Major Update Below!
The big dominos seem to be falling already, less than a week from the news breaking. Â I simply cannot fathom the damage Barack Obama and Rahm Emmanuel have done to their incoming administration, a month before it takes office. But I do know they dealt hit a critical blow this week. Â Barack Obama has just been exposed as a liar to the American people.Â He lied to us in a manner that puts him in the same league as Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Stevens, Senator Robert Torricelli, Rep Randy “Duke” Cunningham andÂ Rep William Jefferson. We have yet to know what, if any, crimes Obama has committed. But the fact is this week he went out and lied straight to the American people. He tried to cover his tracks.
Here is the lie, which caught my eye because of the phrasing Obama was using during his press conference on Daschle’s appointment:
â€œI hadÂ no contact with the governorâ€™s office. I did not speak to the governorÂ about these issues. That I know for certain.â€
It is a lie because now we know Obama’s Chief of Staff provided Blagojevich Obama’s list of candidates he thought should fill his seat. The news broke last night:
Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.
Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.
Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
Emphasis mine. Does Senator Obama really think the American people care about the parsing of ‘talked’ verses ‘sent my list of candidates through my Chief of Staff’? Come on! Who gave the list to Emmanuel? Obama of course! It was Obama’s list of candidates Blagojevich was working with. OMG – are these people morons?
Barack Obama, the next President of the United States, just wagged his finger into the camera and said “I had no conversations with that Governor, Blagojevich, on the candidates for my senate seat’. Of course sending the list of candidates through Emmanual doesn’t somehow count as ‘conversation’.Â
Obama won the election by gaining the trust of the majority of the voters. He was preparing to take office with the added trust of many like me who were willing to give him a chance to prove us wrong. There are no perfect politicians. I was more than willing to give Obama a shot. But his followers were living a dream come true – or so they thought.
I will not be lied to and right now my view of Obama is totally shattered. But my blowback on Obama is going to be mild compared to all those true believers who voted for ‘change we can believe in’. The entire Obama administration is now in a shambles because it’s load bearing characteristic has failed in a devastating manner. Obama is not only just like all other pols, he is inexperienced klutz as well. Â
Obama could not trust the American people to simply tell them he exchanged information with Blagojevich on the matter of the vacant senate seat. All of us would have been shocked at his ineptitude if he hadn’t been pre-planning his transition.Â But Obama failed America by failing to trust us with obvious details. So he lied and tried sell the idea his ‘office’ had nothing to do with ‘the issue’ (his office of course being his senate office, not his transition team).
And it may get worse. As I noted previously,Â when reviewing the infamous November 10, 2008 conference call, there were some counter offers from team Obama to team Blagojevich to try and tone down the quid pro quo, to make it less apparent to the public. The first one listed in the criminal complaint covers a two year ‘quiet period’ so that the connection of the quid pro quo to the senate seat would not be so damn obvious. The Team Obama proposal got a big response out of Blagojevich:
[statement 6]Â ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to â€œsuck it upâ€ for two years and do nothing and give this â€œmotherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.â€
Note he is not saying ‘get nothing’ forever, he is complaining about getting nothing for two years. This delaying tactic comes up later in the conference call as well, when discussing what seems to be the final solution, a three-way deal with the SEIU and a golden parachute job for Blagojevich and/or his wife:
[statement 8]Â HARRIS re-stated ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s thoughts that they should ask the President-elect for something for ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s financial security as well as maintain his political viability. HARRIS said they could work out a three-way deal with SEIU and the President-elect where SEIU could help the President-elect with ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s appointment of Senate Candidate 1 to the vacant Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH would obtain a position as the National Director of the Change to Win campaign, and SEIU would get something favorable from the President-elect in the future.
[statement 9]Â One of ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s advisors said he likes the idea, it sounds like a good idea, but advised ROD BLAGOJEVICH to be leery of promises for something two years from now.
[statement 10]Â ROD BLAGOJEVICHâ€™s wife said they would take the job now.
[statement 11]Â Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others on the phone call discussed various ways ROD BLAGOJEVICH can â€œmonetizeâ€ the relationships he is making as Governor to make money after ROD BLAGOJEVICH is no longer Governor.
If Team Obama proposed a delaying tactic to make any payback more stealthy, they are in trouble. If, as the last statement appears to indicate, they agreed on an even more stealthy plan using the SEIU it would be worse. We don’t know how deep Team Obama got into the muck, but we do know they were in it. And for Obama to claim the opposite was probably the biggest crime of all.Â
He had America’s trust, but could not trust America to deal with the obvious aspects of government. He tried to spin a fantasy picture and he is going to be exposed as a charlatan. And when he tries to spin his facade as The One, with answers of hope and change for America, it will all now be seen by many as a lame joke.
This is what many of us feared from the neophyte, from the Junior Senator from Illinois. The man is inept. Â I, like many, are going to be going out and get those ‘don’t blame me, I voted McCain-Palin’ stickers. Obama has completely and utterly bungled this matter. His credibility is now shot. He has bungled so many things (Iraq to name an obvious one), but this one is probably the worst because he made fools of his most ardent followers. They can no longer claim he is The One, that he will fix politics, that he is different. It really is a stunning fall.
BTW – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has just lost all standing in this matter. Now that we know Obama provided her name to Blagojevich via Emmanual she cannot be calling for anything related to this case. She really needs to sit down and be quiet and make sure her name gets cleared. I am not saying she did anything wrong, but for her to put pressure on any of the key players in this could be seen as self serving.
This is such a mess.
Major Update: The yacking pols in Illinois are digging the hole deeper. Just about anyone would agree that controlling who is an allowable candidate for selection to fill Obama’s seat is absolute control over who gets selected. The same story from above notes that Blagojevich could only work from an approved list from Obama, according to one of the candidates and her discussions with Rahm Emmanuel:
Schakowsky also spoke of a conversation she had with Emanuel shortly after he was named chief of staff. She said she called Emanuel “to get some intelligence” on whether Obama might approve of her selection as senator.
“He indicated that the president-elect would be fine with certain people and I was one of them,” Schakowsky said, adding that he did not share the identities of others on the list.
Clearly this indicates Obama had veto power on who could be considered. And since we now know Obama provided Blagojevich the allowable list of candidates it is clear Obama WAS heavily involved in who was selected. No wonder Blagojevich was threatening to seat Jesse Jackson, Jr – he was not on Obama’s list!Â
Yeah Barack, you had nothing but ‘interest’ in who was selected to fill your seat. You were dictating terms and Blagojevich was dictating terms. That is what we call a ‘negotiation’.