All the President-Elect’s Men Posted by: MichaelW
on Friday, December 12, 2008
Hopefully dovetailing with McQ and Billy below, I think I can explain why Obama has been dissembling regarding the Blagojevich scandal. In addition to the very likely fact that Obama's office was co-ordinating with the Illinois Governor with respect to the Senate vacancy, the President-Elect's connection to so-called "Advisor B" may raise some uncomfortable questions. Advisor B promises to become a person of greater interest as this story unfolds, based on the following passage from the government's affidavit (at pg. 68) [HT: texasdarlin]:
On November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with Advisor B. ROD BLAGOJEVICH discussed with Advisor B his idea for a 501(c)(4) organization. Advisor B stated that he likes the idea, but liked the Change to Win option better because, according to Advisor B, from the President-elect’s perspective, there would be fewer “fingerprints” on the President-elect’s involvement with Change to Win because Change to Win already has an existing stream of revenue and, therefore, “you won’t have stories in four years that they bought you off.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that he likes the 501(c)(4) idea because he knows it will be there in two years when he is no longer Governor, whereas Change to Win might not be.
Advisor B is described earlier in the affidavit as "a Washington D.C.-based consultant" (pg. 60) with whom Blagojevich and his co-defendant assistant (John Harris) discussed a plan to trade favors with the President-Elect and the SEIU in exchange for the Governor appointing Obama's preferred candidate to his Senate seat:
During the call [on Nov. 7], ROD BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat. HARRIS noted that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called “Change to Win,” which is connected to Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”).22 HARRIS suggested that SEIU Official make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, the President-elect could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level. Advisor B asked why SEIU Official cannot just give the job to ROD BLAGOJEVICH. HARRIS responded that it would be just a big “give away” for SEIU Official and Change to Win since there are already individuals on the Change to Win payroll doing the functions of the position that would be created for ROD BLAGOJEVICH. HARRIS said that Change to Win will want to trade the job for ROD BLAGOJEVICH for something from the President-elect. HARRIS suggested a “three-way deal,” and explained that a three-way deal like the one discussed would give the President-elect a “buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo for [Senate Candidate 1].” ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that for him to give up the governorship for the Change to Win position, the Change to Win position must pay a lot more than he is getting paid right now. Advisor B said that he liked the idea of the three-way deal. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 and being on some organization boards. Advisor B said they should leverage the President-elect’s desire to have Senate Candidate 1 appointed to the Senate seat in order to get a head position with Change to Win and a salary. Advisor B agreed that the three-way deal would be a better plan than ROD BLAGOJEVICH appointing Senate Candidate 2 to the Senate seat and getting more done as Governor.
Of course, none of the above means that Obama did anything wrong, and in fact may not even evidence any wrongdoing by Blagojevich. But it certainly suggests that Advisor B thought s/he could go to the Obama camp with a deal that didn't involve "fingerprints" and deliver some sort of value to the Illinois Governor in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarret (who is widely considered "Senate Candidate 1"). Advisor B's familiarity and confidence on this issue, if and when explored in greater detail, may not implicate Obama in anything illegal, but it just might reveal him to be the typical Chicago pol that many suspect he is.
And there's the rub. Regardless of how clean Obama is on the specific issue of Blagojevich selling the Senate seat, other issues will arise as the case moves forward that may not reflect so well on The One. In addition, there are a lot of actors involved, some of whom are close to the President-Elect (such as, perhaps, Advisor B). The chances of Obama completely sidestepping this mudpuddle without getting at least a little dirty is remote. However, when you promote yourself as the candidate of change, sent to Washington in white linens, atop a glistening, silver unicorn to break the cycle of "business as usual," then any splash of mud, no matter how small, will ruin the visage.
Obama's incentive to distance himself from Blagojevich then, aside from normal political instincts, is to save the message of "hope'n change". Without that message, Obama is just another politician who will be judged on the results of his leadership rather than the loftiness of his rhetoric. And, like the Wizard of Oz, Obama probably does not want anyone to look behind that (rhetorical) curtain.
MichaelW - And there’s the rub. Regardless of how clean Obama is on the specific issue of Blagojevich selling the Senate seat, other issues will arise as the case moves forward that may not reflect so well on The One.
Like what? That he hobnobbed with an unrepentent terrorist? That he didn’t notice that his minister was a racist during the twenty years he was sitting in the pews? Or that he set up a campaing donation system that would allow anybody in the world to donate cash to him? Or that he has no qualifications for the office he’s about to stain?
And we thought Slick Willie was teflon-coated...
MichaelW - In addition, there are a lot of actors involved, some of whom are close to the President-Elect (such as, perhaps, Advisor B).
TAO [at press conference] - "This isn’t the Advisor B that I thought I knew."
MSM - "Oh. Okey-doke. In other news, George Bush is an idiot and everybody in the world hates us because of him. Film at 11."
MichaelW - The chances of Obama completely sidestepping this mudpuddle without getting at least a little dirty is remote. However, when you promote yourself as the candidate of change, sent to Washington in white linens, atop a glistening, silver unicorn to break the cycle of "business as usual," then any splash of mud, no matter how small, will ruin the visage.
For whom, exactly? There are three kinds of people in the country:
1. People like me who were NEVER taken in by TAO and his hopey changitude schtick;
2. People who are so disinterested in politics that they’d be doing well to tell you who Barack Hussein Obama is;
3. People who drank the lib koolaid and wouldn’t think ill of TAO if he was on videotape with Blagoyoyo bartering children as sex slaves in exchange for the senate seat.
MichaelW - Obama’s incentive to distance himself from Blagojevich then, aside from normal political instincts, is to save the message of "hope’n change". Without that message, Obama is just another politician who will be judged on the results of his leadership rather than the loftiness of his rhetoric.
This is true for any president. Harry Truman was right in the the buck stops in the Oval Office: if the economy continues to go bad, if there’s a terrorist attack and TAO’s response isn’t good, if Israel and Iran go to war, then all the audacity to hope for change that we can believe in won’t do TAO much good: the American people want results. This is why I think that, unless there is concrete evidence of actual, serious criminal conduct by TAO, he’ll get a pass in the Blagoyugovitch scandal: people are waiting to see what he will do as president. If he does well (fat chance!), then Blagoyoyovitch won’t matter any more than Whitewater did to Slick Willie. If, however, he does what we conservatives expect and runs the country further into the ground, then involvement in selling a senate seat will be the least of his problems.