Liz Sidoti explains why the Sestak thing is bad for Obama regardless of the legality of lack thereof. Excerpt:
White House counsel Robert Bauer said what transpired was neither illegal nor unethical.
But he also said: "There have been numerous reported instances in the past when prior administrations — both Democratic and Republicans and motivated by the same goals — discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office."
But Obama has held himself to a different standard. By that measurement, and in this case, he failed to deliver.
As a candidate, Obama cast himself as above partisan sniping and political maneuvering — even as he proved to be a shrewd politician able to broker deals. He promised voters turned off by politics and Washington — and yearning for change that this fresh-faced, political newcomer offered — that he would do things differently from his predecessors.
Of course I never saw Barack Obama as being above doing anything dirty. He hasn't proven to be any different than all those white guys except he can probably get away with more. But a lot of people just believe what they hear on TV about transparency, post-partisanship and thrills going up legs. So Sidoti is right—he's damaged by this even absent an investigation for which it would not be wise to hold one's breath in anticipation.
Of course it would be great watching Obama swirling down right after Specter disappeared.