Accepting a Job = Rejecting Other Jobs

Chait on the stupidity of Sestak-Gate:

There’s no such thing as offering somebody a job in return for them dropping out of a Senate race. The acceptance of a job means dropping out of a Senate race. The concept of offering somebody a job “in exchange” for them declining to seek another job is like offering to marry a woman in exchange for her not marrying some other guy. It’s conceptually nonsensical.


It’s worth noting that this is a technique the administration has used in the past. Like when they offered Republican Governor Jon Huntsman (a potential 2012 rival) the ambassadorship to China. Huntsman accepted, Obama’s potential rival was neutralized, and nobody cried foul then, even though Huntsman had to resign his Governorship in order to accept the position. In fact, much of the political press lauded it as a brilliant move on Obama’s part. The only real difference today is that Sestak rejected the offer. Had he accepted it, the White House probably would have issued a press release about it. But since he didn’t, they’re not going to talk about it.

Update #2:

Chait clarifies, for those who are still confused about this:

I’ll keep saying this: A job offer is not a quid pro quo to get somebody out of a race. It is getting somebody out of a race. Accepting one job means you cannot run for another. It happens all the time — the White House appointed John McHugh Army Secretary in part to get him out of New York’s 23rd Congressional District. It offered Judd Gregg a cabinet slot in order to get him out of the Senate. This is completely routine, neither illegal no immoral nor especially unusual. Can’t we wait to appoint a special prosecutor until there’s at least some possibility of underlying illegal behavior?

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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