My brother and I both want a certain candy bar, but he just won’t give it up. So, I tell him that I’ll do his chores for a week if he hands over the candy bar. I get the candy bar and he doesn’t have to do chores. It’s an entirely ethical win-win situation. Right?
There was a similar contest going on in Pennsylvania: incumbent Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter faced unprecedented competition leading up to the May 18 Democratic primary. Congressman Joe Sestak was on his tail all the way up to election day, on which he defeated the octogenarian.
Rep. Sestak confirmed, weeks ago, that the White House offered him an administration-level job, on the condition that he would drop out of the PA Democratic race. (He would give no specific details.) Pundits have alluded to this being an unethical and/ or sly move on the part of the Obama administration. I think, however, that if any type of move of this sort is carried out in the absence of law breaking, dishonesty, or some kind of irrefutable transgression, this is just your run-of-the-mill quid pro quo; it’s just like the candy bar swap. If Sestak was qualified for the admin job, then the move was just political and could ultimately have also been a win-win.
With all that said, Barack Obama spent two years campaigning on the platform of “change” and promised a break from “politics as usual
This is politics as usual. It may not be particularly devious or cunning, but it embodies the kind of politics (for better or for worse) that Obama claimed to have been so vehemently opposed to.
I extend to President Obama the same principles he extended to us, the American people, on the night of the South Carolina primary:
“We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington. It’s a status quo that extends beyond any particular party and right now that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got, with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving the problems people face.”
You’ve got to work with what you’ve got. You’ve got to work on the problems. So, yes, President Obama, we appreciate that you do your job ethically.
But there’s always a little bit more you can do to ensure that we’re in good hands and that our government is focused on solutions, not opportunism.