A researcher writes on the Sestak affair at Ezra Klein’s blog. He suggests that even if the White House offered Rep. Sestak a job as secretary of the Navy to get him out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary, that doesn’t matter, because Sestak is qualified for that job.
More to the point, this politicization is only a problem if it results in cronies, or otherwise unqualified people, taking important positions. It’s hard to imagine this being the case with any position Sestak would have been appointed to fill. A 30-year Navy veteran who reached the rank of vice admiral and spent two years on the House Armed Services Committee, like Sestak, is more than qualified to be secretary of the Navy.
Thing is, I didn’t see anything about that in the federal statutes that say you can’t just hand out positions of public trust (whether it’s secretary of the Navy, Defense, or whatever) as bargaining chips to save Arlen Specter (or Michael Bennet, or whomever).
By the way, Sestak has only himself to blame for this entire fiasco. Whether he just made it all up, or he was offered a flagrant quid-pro-quo, Sestak used the story of the White House job offer to make himself look better during the Democratic primary. (I.e., he was so principled that he would not take the job.) It made for some great theater in the primary, but he’s probably regretting that decision now that he’s the nominee.