This week has not been a good week for President Obama or his supporters. From the growing oil disaster in the Gulf to the announcement that he, the Commander in Chief of the military, will break precedent and not lay the wreath at Arlington Memorial Cemetery this holiday weekend, the President's policies and philosophies are exposed. Another shoe dropped with the media report that the Obama administration offered a top administration job to Joe Sestak, a former admiral and unapologetic liberal who ended Arlen Specter's 30-year Senate run if he would drop out of the race for the senate seat.
Vice President Joe Biden becomes the 1st elected politician other than the president of the U.S. to lay the wreath on Memorial Day weekend. Obama heads to Chicago for a ceremony honoring Abraham Lincoln and a short vacation. With the U.S. engaged in two wars and men and women dying each week in them, the symbolism of Obama's actions are disappointing to many Americans. The message that he sends is twofold. First, I am my own man and I can and will break presidential precedent as I see appropriate. Secondly, honoring and being a part of a ceremony celebrating Lincoln is more important than recognizing the men and women who have died for our freedom on the 1 day in the calendar reserved for this purpose. Conservative and liberal commentators will have a field day with this topic. How this will impact his standing with the military will be quickly determined.
The story about the Sestak job offer has to be one of the most troubling of the week. It smacks of Chicago style politics in the worst way and reminds everyone of the similar actions of Ronald Burris of Illinois who under controversial circumstances, was appointed by indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to replace President-Elect Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois. On ABC's World News with Charles Gibson on May 27, 2009, a recording was played of Burris's conversation with Rod Blagojevich in which Burris is allegedly heard to be negotiating on the price for receiving Obama's Senate seat. Mr. Blagojevich has since been indicted by federal authorities of trying to sell Mr. Obama’s seat to whoever could provide him with money or a high-paying job.
Sestak has made public statements that support the allegation that he was offered a job by a well placed individual in the Obama administration to cease his election efforts to be the Democratic Party candidate for the senate seat. If proven true, this is a Federal offense that if approved explicitly or tacitly by the President could be an impeachable offense. The White House continues to avoid discussing details on whether Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak was offered a job if he skipped the Pennsylvania race. According to an article in “The Hill”, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that Republicans are “continuing to dredge up" allegations that Rep. Joe Sestak (D) was offered a job to stay out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary. Gibbs refused to expound on the topic "not going to get further into what the conversations were” with the congressman. “Nothing inappropriate happened,” Gibbs said on CBS, stressing that White House lawyers had looked into the matter.
Gibb’s statement was made in spite of the fact that Sestak reiterated on "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he was offered an administration post. "I was offered a job and I answered that," Sestak said on "Meet the Press," while refusing to get into detail about what was offered that “Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about." If nothing else comes of this matter, it shines light on the dirty politics that still occur in D.C.
In the Gulf, BP is preparing what it hopes is the solution to stop the massive oil leak. It plans to drop a material called Top Kill on the leak which is supposed to clog and close the leak. While the preliminary tests of the material have been promising, this will be the 1st time that it is used under water and at 5,000 feet down. If it fails, there will be renewed calls on the Obama administration to take action. Already the spill has hit the marsh areas and beaches of Louisiana and is headed around the coast of Florida and up the East coast. Many liken the current disaster and reaction by the Obama administration to the Katrina disaster that hit New Orleans in 2005. President Bush was then heavily criticized for the perceived slow response of the Federal government to the hurricane’s aftermath.
There are other new concerns that President Obama must deal with including the increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula that have the potential for military conflict. This has not been an easy week for Obama, but a lot of it is due to either his own actions or by those who report to him or speak for him like Robert Gibbs, his press secretary.