A ridiculous analysis unbecoming of the Washington Post

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

The Sestak "controversy" just keeps getting more absurd, courtesy of the Washington Post:

Let's recap:

1) There's nothing wrong with offering Joe Sestak a job.

2) Political partisans and journalists have invented a scandal out of something that is not.

3) It is unbecoming of the White House to appear defensive in response to being accused of wrongdoing where there is none.

Got it?

Balz goes on to pretend there are remaining questions:

The report said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted former president Bill Clinton to raise the matter with Sestak. Sestak said he had one conversation with Clinton -- date uncertain. But the report said that "efforts were made in June and July of 2009," suggesting more than one conversation. Who else was involved and what else transpired?

Who cares who else was involved and what else transpired? There has been no credible suggestion of wrongdoing. None. You can play "who else was involved and what else transpired" forever, as long as you aren't limited to questions about wrongdoing. Who did Dan Balz have dinner with last night? What did they talk about? What else happened? Why won't he tell us? What is he hiding?

Balz then pretends the White House could have avoided all of this:

For the White House, the latest revelations only create more questions. For starters, why did it take the White House months to issue any kind of report on its intervention in the Sestak-Specter race? And why, after so many months, was that report as thin as it was? Couldn't the White House have put the matter to rest months earlier?

No. See, Republicans still would have pretended to be outraged -- we know this from the fact that they continue to pretend to think there is a scandal here, even after it has been made clear that there isn't. We also know it from basic common sense, and from being alive and aware of how the Republican party deals with Democratic presidents. So all that remains is the question of whether the media would have ignored the GOP's criticisms had only the White House responded more quickly. That's such an absurd thing to believe that you'll notice that Dan Balz doesn't actually say it. The fact that Balz wrote that paragraph in questions rather than in statements suggests that he doesn't really believe the White House could have "put the matter to rest months earlier." If he does really believe it, here's a challenge for him: Say it directly. Come out and say, explicitly, that Darrell Issa would have dropped this months ago, had only the White House explained what happened -- and that if he didn't, the media would have ignored this whole big ball of nothing.

Balz concludes:

In comparison with the oil spill, the Sestak and Romanoff cases are minor irritants to the White House. Why shouldn't a White House seek to avoid costly and potentially divisive primaries in a year when holding every seat is crucial?

But, if that's the case, why can't White House officials say that more explicitly? Why can't it be more forthcoming about the nature of its efforts, particularly once they become public? If transparency was a key promise during Obama's presidential campaign, why have officials made it so difficult to get to the facts of these cases?

This is simply nonsense. And I would submit that it is in bad faith. Did anybody, ever, interpret the Obama campaign's comments about transparency as meaning that the Obama White House would release transcripts of every conversation anyone ever has with anyone? Of course not. There is not one reporter in America who thought during the 2008 campaign that Obama was promising to disclose every detail of every discussion everyone at the White House, or acting on the White House's behalf, has with potential employees. Nobody thought that for the very simple reason that the Obama campaign didn't make any promise even remotely resembling that.

But reporters are now willing to pretend such a promise was made so they can justify complaining about the White House's response to an utterly trivial non-issue. The Obama campaign's statements about "transparency" don't mean that they are required to answer every completely pointless question the GOP dreams up. Reporters shouldn't pretend they do.

The Washington Post
Dan Balz
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.