The fetching (and recently married) Democratic strategist is just one of many Obama supporters to lose patience with this incompetent man-child, and to speak out in a critical manner about the freak show that he has imposed upon Washington D.C. and the entire Nation.
Get rid of White House political office
by Kirsten Powers
Emanuel: O’s chief of staff practicing brass-knuckle politics — on the taxpayers’ dime.
The flap over the job offers to Joe Sestak in Pennsylva nia and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado shows that it’s time to move electoral politics out of the White House. Rahm Emanuel, this means you.
President Obama’s first step should be to shutter the Office of Political Affairs. Then he should jettison the various political henchmen — starting with Rahm — who’ve infested the West Wing and put them on the Democratic National Committee, where they belong.
Since President Ronald Reagan created it, the Office of Political Affairs has become a taxpayer-funded campaign office that has helped administrations of all stripes consolidate their power.
Its current head, Patrick Gaspard, has used his perch to try to push Gov. Paterson from running this fall (Paterson later forced himself out), to push Doug Wilder to support Creigh Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race (Deeds would up losing the general) — and to persuade GOP state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava to endorse the Democrat after she lost her primary in the special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District (which helped keep the seat in Democratic hands).
Your taxpayer dollars at work.
Gaspard works closely with Emanuel, the White House chief of staff (who was behind the Sestak overtures), and his deputy, Jim Messina (of Romanoff fame).
When congressional investigators accused the Bush White House of political activity clearly banned by law, Mehlman explained that “a big part” of his job was to “help elect allies of the president.”
Why are we paying for this?
Sen. John McCain called for abolishing the office during the 2008 campaign. Obama didn’t take up the challenge. Instead, he doubled down.
Not very changey or hopey.
Richard Painter, who served as President George W. Bush’s ethics counsel, has been a crusader for closing the political-affairs office and barring partisan political activity in the White House.
In recent days, Obama defenders have selectively quoted Painter as saying the White House didn’t violate any laws in the Sestak/Romanoff affairs. What they leave out is that he also thinks the behavior was unseemly and that, as White House counsel, he would’ve advised against the outreach, precisely because of the controversy that has erupted.
Painter stressed to me that the “present arrangement does not work and is an invitation to trouble.”
Now, with the revelation that Jim Messina mixed official business (discussing employment) with political activity (influencing a primary), Painter believes there “could be” a Hatch Act violation, which bars White House officials from conducting political activity as part of their official business — including official phone calls.
The way White Houses have skirted this prohibition is to have the DNC or RNC provide staffers with BlackBerries and cellphones that they use for political business. When they are doing White House business, they use that equipment. Meanwhile, US taxpayers pay their salaries. What a farce.
In the Bush years, Rep. Henry Waxman conducted a long (and no doubt costly) investigation into the White House’s political activity and ultimately argued that “Congress should amend the Hatch Act . . . to eliminate the White House Office of Political Affairs. If the political-affairs office is retained, its activities should be restructured to ensure that it serves the interests of the taxpayer, not the political party of the president.”
When Obama took office, Waxman shut up about that reform.
No worries. Now GOP Rep. Daryl Issa (R-Calif.) is using his position on the same committee that Waxman chaired to hound Obama for his White House’s political activity — and he, too, has launched a probe.
More taxpayer dollars down the drain.
Your mom was right — “everybody does it” doesn’t make it right. Yet that childhood chant remains the perennial defense in Washington. Well, as someone once said, it’s time for a change. The cycle must be broken — and I nominate Obama to do it.