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From the minute the White House issued their statement on the Sestak Scandal, people have been questioning the White House’s version of events. (Notice I didn’t imply that it was the truth.) With each passing minute, more questions are being raised. What’s worse (for Sestak and the Obama administration) is that information is surfacing that says Rep. Sestak, as an elected official, wasn’t eligible to serve on this board:

According to the Board’s official Web site:

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.

Rich Lowry has 3 important questions that need answering:

Since when is a former three-star admiral going to be impressed by an offer of a position on an advisory board?

If Sestak was exaggerating all along, why didn’t the White House expose him months ago when it would have embarrassed him and perhaps help drag Specter over the finish line?

Does Rahm Emanuel give up so easily that after making Sestak an insulting offer of an advisory board slot he would have stopped trying to entice Sestak out of the race?

Compare those insightful questions with the Washington Post’s kid glove treatment of the Sestak Scandal. Here’s the opening paragraph of their editorial:

OKAY, if all the facts are out, then we would agree: Nothing inappropriate happened. On the basis of the memorandum issued Friday by White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer, the Joe Sestak job-for-dropping-out-of-Senate-race scandal is a non-scandal, except for the White House’s bungling of the episode. The unnecessary coverup, it turns out, is always worse than the non-crime.

It’s disheartening that the genuflectors at the Washington Post give the White House memo that much credibility. They shouldn’t trust that statement that quickly or without asking a ton of questions (like Rich Lowry’s) first. Here’s the final paragraph of the Washington Post editorial:

Of course, Mr. Clinton’s involvement inevitably makes any story juicier, but still: The administration could have disclosed these facts in February, when the matter first came up. Instead, it stonewalled with assurances that nothing inappropriate happened, but offered no facts to support that high-handed assertion. It continued this tactic after Mr. Sestak won the primary this month. A little transparency early on would have gone a long way to making this story die down before it became a conflagration.

The Washington Post editorial board actually hits on something worth questioning. They’ve essentially admitted that they believe Bauer’s statement. For the sake of discussion, let’s stipulated that Bauer’s statement is accurate. Why would this administration not turn Rep. Sestak’s works against him? It would’ve ended his senatorial campaign instantly.

Had Mr. Emanuel granted an interview to a Jake Tapper or a Major Garrett on the subject of Sestak, he could’ve used the interview to categorically deny that the administration offering Sestak the Navy Secretary position. Had they done that, Sestak’s senatorial campaign would’ve been over.

Since the Obama administration’s goal was to support Sen. Specter, why wouldn’t they pounce on the opportunity to stop Specter’s opponent’s campaign dead in its tracks?

As for the Washington Post’s asking why there wasn’t more “transparency” on this issue, didn’t it dawn on them that the reason why there wasn’t greater transparency might’ve been because there’s more to this story than this administration is admitting? During the Nixon years, Bob Woodward certainly didn’t accept such self-serving statements at face value.

Salena Zito’s and Mike Wereschagin’s reporting in this morning’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review highlights something most people have brushed over. Here’s what I’m refering to:

White House Counsel Robert Bauer, who wrote the Obama administration’s report on the offer, denied that a crime occurred.

“Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a presidential or other senior executive branch advisory board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified,” Bauer wrote.

Sestak declined the offer.

“The former president said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects,” said Sestak, who served as an adviser to Clinton during his administration, when Sestak was an admiral in the Navy.

Notice the difference in the paragraphs between the use of singular and plural nouns. The Obama administration’s statement said that “efforts (plural) were made in June and July of 2009″ but Sestak’s comment was that President Clinton talked to him about the advisory position, that Sestak refused and “the conversation (singular) moved on to other subjects.”

This is important, I believe, because we’re talking about different principles in this incident saying different things. It’s quite possible that Rep. Sestak had a single conversation with President Clinton about the Senate race. Bauer’s statement might accurately reflect the White House’s involvement in the Sen. Specter/Rep. Sestak primary campaign.

If the White House used President Clinton just once to talk with Rep. Sestak, which we can’t rule out based on the principles’ statements, which person or people made other offers to Rep. Sestak after President Clinton made initial contact with Rep. Sestak? I’m wondering what other offers were made to Rep. Sestak, too.

This paragraph is filled with sanctimonious statements:

“I felt for my own personal accountability I needed to be honest, and I said yes,” Sestak said. “I mean, I didn’t try to parse the word there. And then I said after that ‘no comment’ to the follow-on questions that were asked, because I talked about my role in the matter, and I thought that was important for me to do.”

Really? There’s no parsing of words? Let’s accept that as truth. If President Clinton did make a single call to persuade Rep. Sestak to drop out of the race, which high-ranking administration official or officials made other offers to Rep. Sestak? It’s important we remember that Bauer’s statement said that multiple contacts were made in June and July, 2009. Surely, they didn’t call Rep. Sestak to make him the same offer that President Clinton made, right?

At this point, it’s apparent that this isn’t the last statement that the Obama administration will have to make. People will persist in asking whether other offers were made and who made them. Doing this document dump on the Friday before Memmorial Day weekend was meant to bury the information when nobody was paying attention. This administration has attempted this multiple times. Thus far, it hasn’t buried anything because people persist in asking additional questions when people return from long holiday weekends.

If a senior administration official offered Rep. Sestak a job like Secretary of the Navy or something similar, then that official had better hire a good attorney because he’ll need it.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday’s news that the Obama administration had applied undue pressure on senior, secured creditors was bad enough. Now it’s apparent that that was just the tip of the iceberg:

Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as “a farce,” saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats. Conversations with administration officials left them expecting that they would be politically targeted, two participants in the negotiations said.

It gets worse:

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say they were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet…and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.

I’ve long thought that President Obama is a narcissist and a ruthless Chicago machine politician. That’s why I find these accusations totally credible. Captain Ed thinks that way, too:

The story now has more than one source, and mounting testimony — albeit understandably anonymous testimony, at least at this point — that the White House tried threatening senior creditors instead of doing their job in enforcing the law. Not only do they not realize that their responsibilities do not include building business plans for private enterprises, but also don’t include assuming the role of Michael Corleone and acting like organized-crime thugs. Actually, the way the White House made Obama sound, maybe Sonny Corleone is a better analogy … or perhaps Fredo.

I’ve said that this administration has created a new cliche. In decades gone by, the cliche was “I’m with the federal government and I’m here to help you.” That’s since morphed into “I’m with the federal government and I’m here to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

Such is the way it is with the Obama thugocracy administration.

I’m interested in is finding out who were the Obama administration people in the room when the threats were made. Was Timothy Geithner in the room? Was Rahm Emanuel? Certainly, it isn’t unreasonable to think that senior Treasury Department people were involved in the negotiations. It definitely isn’t a stretch to think that Rahm Emanuel was incapable of making that type of threat.

Unfortunately, there’s no chance that Congress will lift a finger to investigate the Obama administration.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

First Lady Laura Bush cautioned Democrats that sexist remarks about Sarah Palin might backfire. Here’s what Politico is reporting:

First lady Laura Bush said today that sexism aimed at Sarah Palin was a very real prospect and suggested Democrats watch what they say about the Alaska governor and John McCain’s ticketmate.

“The other side will have to be particularly careful,” Bush said in an interview on Fox News from St. Paul, “because that’s something we all looked at.” Questioned about whether Palin may face sexism from the media in the way Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters claim she did, Bush said: “I think that’s a possibility.”

The first lady, who had been planning to speak to the GOP convention tonight before Gustav scrambled the schedule, expressed pride in Palin.

“I’m going to get what I wanted, which is to be able to vote for a Republican woman,” Bush said. “People, as they get to know her, are going to be so impressed with her grit and her sensible judgment.” “She has shown how terrific women can be, and how strong women can be, in office.”

The Left’s smear websites have already thrown alot of conspiracy theories out there. None have stuck. In fact, Kos has retreated from the story that Sarah Palin didn’t give birth to Trig, that it was their daughter’s illegitimate child.

The more conspiracy theories that the Left tries throwing at Gov. Palin, the bigger the backlash against the Left will be.

Mrs. Bush is right, though. The more people get to know Gov. Palin, the more they’ll love about her. I can’t remember where I read this but someone was making the point that Sarah Palin doesn’t fit nicely in a box of any sort. She’s unabashedly conservative. Her husband is a proud member of a union but he isn’t a registered Republican. She’s staunchly pro-life and an evangelical Christian who won a local beauty pageant. She’s a picture of femininity and an avid outdoorsman. (That fits the description of a tomboy, doesn’t it?)

Any attempts by Democrats to smear her will hurt the Obama-Biden ticket almost as much as Biden hurts the Obama-Biden ticket.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this Newsmax article, John McCain has asked for “personal documents” from Rep. Eric Cantor. Picking Rep. Cantor, who’s had a short but distinguished career in the House would get Republicans excited and then some.

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia has been asked for “personal documents” by John McCain’s campaign, a Republican knowledgeable with the discussions said Saturday.

Cantor, 45, the chief deputy minority whip in the House, has been mentioned among several Republicans as a possible running mate for McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

The Republican familiar with the conversations between Cantor and the McCain campaign said Cantor has been asked to turn over documents, but did not know specifically what records were sought.

Rep. Cantor has risen to the post of chief deputy minority whip after just 6 years in the House. That’s a testament to his abilities. Picking him would be smart on a number of fronts.

First, he’s got impeccable conservative credentials. Picking him tells the base that they won’t be ignored in a McCain administration. Reading Rep. Cantor’s blog will tell conservatives that he’s a conservative’s conservative.

Secondly, as a blogger, Eric Cantor stays in touch with the American people. Half the battle of defeating Washington is frequently reminding our elected officials what people in the Heartland are thinking. It matters because the thinking is that much different. Beltway thinking is based on spending money and listening to spending requests from lobbyists and bureaucrats. Heartland thinking is based on what makes the most positive impact on people’s daily lives.

Third, Eric Cantor would fire up the base in ways that only a few people can. (The other person that fits that description is John Kasich.) People are already fired up now that Republicans are fighting back against Pelosi’s Politburo on drilling. Picking Rep. Cantor would get them in such a fever pitch that we’d run through walls for that ticket.

Fourth, and most importantly, picking Rep. Cantor keeps Virginia in the red column.

In addition to those benefits, another thing that we shouldn’t underestimate is Cantor’s being part of the ‘Drilling Brigade’, that group that wants to drill, drill, drill.

The downside on Eric Cantor is that he isn’t a household name. I don’t consider this an insurmountable obstacle, though, because he’s a gifted politician whose beliefs fit perfectly with blue collar America and suburban America.

We’ve kind of lost track of Obama’s drubbings in the heartland/rural states but it’s a potentially huge factor this fall. Let’s remember that Hillary soundly defeated Sen. Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio but obliterated Obama in West Virginia, and Kentucky after his fundraising speech in San Fransisco.

The good news is that Republicans are getting excited, thanks in large part to the fight over oil. I’m betting that campaign contributions will soon start pouring in now that people know that Republicans are fighting in Washington. Adding Eric Cantor to the ticket only strengthens our enthusiasm. Being on the right side of a 75-25% issue that’s also the biggest domestic issue of the cycle helps, too.

Don’t look now but the dynamics of this race are shifting as we speak.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Barack Obama says he isn’t surprised by the snippets from Scott McClellan’s book. Why am I not surprised? Here’s what he said:

“The fact that he said it obviously is unusual,” the likely Democratic nomineee responded.

He added: “I haven’t read it. I don’t think that the substance is particularly surprising. I think many of us have been troubled by the lack of straightforwardness in this administration. The only news is that somebody within the administration has confirmed what a lot of us have thought for some time.”

This is actually quite revealing. It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama agrees with John Conyers, Russ Feingold and the rest of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. Why else would he think that President Bush manipulated us into war with Iraq?

Certainly the only ‘proof’ that’s been produced that President Bush lied us into war’ were the discredited Downing Street Memos. Thus far, only the Tin Hat Brigade has bought into that farcical tale.

Sen. Obama’s reaction also tells us that he doesn’t need documented proof to presume Republicans are nefarious and dishonest. Whatever happened to independent verification and fact-checking? Does Sen. Obama think that that’s a right only afforded to liberals?

Until Mr. McClellan offers documented, dated proof of his allegations, I’ll consider them just that: allegations. After much rehashing of this stuff, I won’t hold my breath on seeing documented proof, whether it’s from Mr. McClellan, the Wilsons or anyone else from the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

The postpartisan facade will fade fast if Sen. Obama continues hanging around with the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. It’s already disappeared as far as I’m concerned.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Scott McLellan’s book is getting alot of buzz this morning, mostly on the basis that it sounds like it’s written by the Daily Kos. I’ll reserve judgment on whether the snippets now being discussed are reflective of the book until I read the book but I don’t need to wait to pass judgment on this quote in the AJC’s article:

“President Bush has always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options, including sitting around engaging in extended debate about them, before making a choice,” McClellan wrote. “Rather, he chooses based on his gut and his most deeply held convictions. Such was the case with Iraq.”

Based on what Bob Woodward wrote in “Bush at War”, McLellan’s take simply doesn’t hold water. Woodward wrote about how President Bush would toss out a subject with his national security team and let them argue about their positions to get the benefit of multiple perspectives.

It’s also worth noting that Dr. Rice said that she appreciated President Bush’s ability to “ask the third, fourth and fifth questions” on foreign policy subjects.

At this point, I don’t find that portion of McLellan’s book credible but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the book until I’ve read the entire book. One thing that I won’t give him the benefit of the doubt on, though, is his capabilities as a press secretary. Frankly, he was brutal, possibly the worst press secretary in White House history. Many was the time that conservatives complained about his press briefings, which I later nicknamed as the “fetal position briefings.”

There was a night and day difference between his briefings and Tony Snow’s briefings. McLellan would accept the premise of the reporters’ questions; Tony wouldn’t. McLellan just kept repeating the same answer; Tony would first challenge the premise, then recite statistics to refute the premise.

Don’t think that Mr. McLellan didn’t notice that Tony Snow was a media star for the White House. Compared with McLellan being kept out of sight as often as possible, that had to hurt his ego pretty good.

In an interview Tuesday, McClellan said he retains great admiration and respect for Bush. “My job was to advocate and defend his policies and speak on his behalf,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me now to share my own views and perspective on things. There were things we did right and things we did wrong. Unfortunately, much of what went wrong overshadowed the good things we did.”

That’s quite the telling quote. Why didn’t Mr. McLellan think that it was his job to challenge the premise of the reporters’ questions? His job wasn’t to be the Washington press corps’ punching bag. It was to get accurate information out to the American people. He failed miserably in that capacity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yes, that’s an accurate quote. That’s Hillary’s quote from an interview she did with CNN’s Candy Crowley. Here’s that statement in context:

“I wasn’t at my best the other night,” Clinton told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “We’ve had a bunch of debates and I wouldn’t rank that up in my very top list. But I’ve answered probably, I don’t know, more than 5,000 questions over the last 10 months and I have been very clear about where I stand and what I want to do for the country.”

Suffice it to say that Dick Morris doesn’t agree with Hillary on her being clear about where she stands:

Every time she approaches a microphone, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton labors under the necessity of fudging on her program, offering, instead, an artificial personality and a variety of poll-tested bromides that let her duck key issues.

The resulting circumlocutions were evident in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate. Her plans for Social Security? Clearly, she thinks she may need to raise Social Security taxes – but she can’t say so. Instead, she repeats the poll-tested mantra of “fiscal responsibility” and a “bipartisan commission.”

By “fiscal responsibility,” she means ending Treasury borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund, a policy already in place. By a “bipartisan commission,” she means sharing the blame for unpopular policies with Republicans to minimize the deadly electoral impact. But she can’t explain any of that, so she just repeats the mantra.

If there’s anything that I won’t believe about Hillary, it’s that she’s the re-incarnation of John McCain’s Straight Talk Express. That’s utterly laughable. The Clintons turned parsing sentences into an art form. Does anyone seriously think that the woman who manned the “Bimbo Eruptions” desk in the Clinton War room, then said that Monicagate was “part of a vast Right Wing conspiracy” is capable of being “very clear” on what she believes?

If Hillary’s been very clear on where she stands, why didn’t Hillary give a straight answer on whether she supports giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants? That’s a straightforward question. It’s an answer that Rudy Giuliani or Fred Thompson would answer in their sleep.

In the wide-ranging interview exactly a year before the election, Clinton continued to hold back from offering full-fledged support for a plan offering illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, saying it’s a question that doesn’t allow a candidate to answer simply by “raising their hand.”

“It depends upon what state they’re in, it depends upon what [governors] think the risks are,” Clinton said. “The governor of New York has a lot of immigrants, many of whom we know are not their legally; [he] has to worry about security. A governor of another state where that’s not a problem doesn’t.

“This issue has been so politicized,” Clinton continued, “and I understand that, because you can score points, you can score all kinds of political, demagogic points.”

That’s typical Hillary. If someone tries getting a straight answer from Hillary about the most important issues in a generation, she goes into evasive mode. She acts like it’s a difficult moral question that’s painted in shade of gray. This isn’t difficult. It’s extremely straightforward.

Furthermore, when she says that “it’s a question that doesn’t allow a candidate to answer simply by ‘raising their hand’”, she’s exactly wrong. Of all the possible questions she could’ve been asked, this is the most tailor-made for a straight yes or no answer. There isn’t much nuance to this. Either she’s for maintaining America’s sovereignty or she doesn’t care about maintaining America’s sovereignty.

Another telltale sign that she’s being evasive is her saying that “you can score all kinds of political, demagogic points.” That’s Hillary’s way of telling candidates (a)that she’s demagoging this issue and (b) how she’ll defend herself when they exploit her weakness.

The thing to notice is that she’s still taking the same evasive actions that she did during last Tuesday’s debate.

It’s another perfect example of Hillary refusing to board the Straight Talk Express.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on this article in Politico.com, the Hillary document logjam will be broken. Personally, I’m nore than a bit skeptical because of this sentence:

But Bill Clinton’s lawyer will have the final say on whether 10,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s private White House “daily schedules” will be immediately released to the groups who requested her calendar under the Freedom of Information Act.

Until it clears that hurdle, I’ll remain skeptical. Having a lawyer review the documnets isn’t bad by itself. It’s just that the lawyer can say that he isn’t releasing the documents & Hillary can claim that she tried getting the documents released.

If that’s what happens, conservatives & independents will be skeptical & upset. If the woman who would be president can’t get a lowly personal attorney to release documents, then she’ll be the object of well-deserved ridicule. Hillary’s rivals are jumping on her secrecy, too:

Clinton rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) criticized her at the Oct. 30 debate for not releasing more White House documents.

“We have just gone through one of the most secretive administrations in our history. And not releasing, I think, these records, at the same time, Hillary, that you’re making the claim that this is the basis for your experience, I think, is a problem,” he said.

The old axiom that sunshine is the best disinfectant doesn’t seem to matter with the Clintons. They don’t seem to care must about disinfecting their ethically-challenged lives. In a change election, relying on the same old, same old isn’t likely to work. In fact, I suspect that it’ll become a hindrance to her.

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Tony Snow’s cancer has spread. Tony is one of the genuinely good guys in Washington, articulate, courteous and feisty, not to mention one of the most knowledgeable men in politics.

That’s why I’m asking LFR readers to keep Tony & his family in your prayers.

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Last Thursday, John Murtha told MoveCongress.org that the vote on the nonbinding resolution was merely the first step in cutting off funding for the troops. He’s since gotten the support of Nancy Pelosi to start working on the second step in his plan, which is to place restrictions on the supplemental appropriation bill that would be impossible to meet and still continue fighting the war.

If Murtha succeeds in implementing those restrictions into the supplemental and the House approves the bill, there’s certain to be a conference committee because I can’t see the Senate voting for the Murtha bill. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Reid’s Democrats pass the supplemental. The next question would be “What happens next”?

There’s really only three options at that point: (a) the President signs the bill and ‘obeys’ the bill’s language; (b) the President vetoes the bill and tells Congress to pass a clean bill or (c) the President signs the bill and ignores the restrictions.

Option A won’t happen because it would essentially end the war. Option B isn’t likely to happen either because it would let the Democrats say that they didn’t cut funding for the troops, that it was the president who cut funding.

That’s why I think Option C is the most likely option. The reason why I think this is the option that President Bush would follow this course is rooted in the Constitution. It would set up a constitutional showdown that would revolve around the Legislative Branch micromanaging the war, something that the Constitution prohibits. Other pluses would be that Republicans would fired up by President Bush challenging the Democrats and it would cause the Loony Left to go berserk. Anytime that the Loony Left is the face of the Democratic Party, Republicans win.

Taking this path would also likely cause John Conyers to revive talk about impeaching President Bush. That doesn’t stand a chance of happening because Democrats would lose control of the House of Representatives and wouldn’t take the White House in 2008. A failed impeachment vote would be seen as a staggering repudiation of Pelosi, Murtha and Conyers, too.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative