Former McCain staffer Michael Goldfarb claims on the Weekly Standard's blog that a source tells him the Obama administration is pressuring Sen. Ben Nelson to support health care reform:
According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.
First, note that Goldfarb describes his source as "a Senate aide" -- not "a Democratic Senate aide." Given that his source would be much more credible if described that way, we can probably assume that Goldfarb's (only) source is a Republican Senate aide. And the source's quotes certainly sound rather Republican:
As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.
So how would this presumably Republican aide be in a position to know what the White House is "threatening" to do to Democratic Senator? Goldfarb doesn't say. (Even if the "source" is a Democrat, there's no indication s/he is in a position to know anything.) So, there's a pretty good reason to be skeptical right there.
Now, moving on to the supposed substance of the alleged threat. The BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process is specifically designed to minimize political considerations in base closing decisions. The Defense Department applies legally-mandated criteria to assess bases; an independent commission (chosen in consultation between the President and Congress) makes closure recommendations; Congress has the ability to reject those recommendations; the whole thing is a lengthy and high-profile process.
In short: if "Rahm Emanuel and the White House" want to "extort Nelson's vote," it isn't likely they would do so by trying to meddle in the BRAC process. And it's even less likely considering the risk they'd be taking -- getting caught meddling with BRAC would look significantly worse than getting caught cutting off highway funding, for example.
Basically, Goldfarb's post doesn't pass the laugh test.
And that's even before you consider the fact that Michael Goldfarb is a liar.
In an October 27 blog post - headlined "Joementum 2008?" - former McCain campaign aide and Weekly Standard online editor Michael Goldfarb writes:
Is he the greatest senator ever? He fought for victory in Iraq, he's fighting for victory in Afghanistan, and he's fighting to save us all from Obamacare. Who needs Olympia Snowe when you've got Joementum?
The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb notes that Alaska, unlike the federal government, does have a "Department of Law" and asks: "Is it really that crazy that Governor Palin would suggest that the White House equivalent of her Department of Law would handle the kind of frivolous ethics complaints she's been forced to deal with on her own?"
Well, let's see: Sarah Palin was the Republican Party's nominee for Vice President just last year. She has presidential ambitions. So, yes, it seems pretty reasonable to expect her to know that there is no "department of law there in the White House."
But that's a judgment call. Goldfarb apparently doesn't require that level of knowledge from would-be presidents; that's his prerogative. But Goldfarb's defense of Palin collapses under the weight of its own illogic. Here's Goldfarb again:
"Is it really that crazy that Governor Palin would suggest that the White House equivalent of her Department of Law would handle the kind of frivolous ethics complaints she's been forced to deal with on her own?"
So, according to Goldfarb (and Palin), Alaska's Department of Law has left Palin to handle ethics complaints "on her own."
And according to Goldfarb, it makes sense for Palin to assume that the White House equivalent of Alaska's Department of law -- which has left her to handle ethics complaints on her own -- would not leave her to handle ethics complaints on her own.
Does Goldfarb know what "equivalent" means?
(By the way: Goldfarb worked for the McCain-Palin campaign.)
Oh, this is great. Michael Goldfarb is outraged:
David Shuster Is A Liar
MSNBC's journalistic standards are, shall we say, somewhat flexible. Even by its weak standards, however, David Shuster today issued a report that was breathtaking for its mendacity. Simply put, Shuster lied--brazenly, knowingly, on the air. ...
Shuster made these things up, apparently out of whole cloth. ...
We don't expect the likes of David Shuster to let little things like facts to get in the way of his opinions. But we do expect that the producers and executives at MSNBC might care a bit more about the consequences of spreading easily verifiable falsehoods on the air.
I'll let Shuster defend himself, if he cares what Goldfarb says. But I wonder how Goldfarb squares all of that outrage with his sleazy and dishonest lies that Sonia Sotomayor was allowed to teach her own class and grade herself?
To borrow Shuster's shtick: Michael Goldfarb, when you spread easily-debunked lies about someone and refuse to correct them when caught, then call someone else a "liar" and question their "journalistic standards" ... that's hypocrisy!
Media figures have used President Obama's second overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East to stoke fears that he may be too close to the Muslim world or harbors a secret, anti-American agenda.