Tag: congressman joe sestak

Sestak: Business as Usual

I haven’t taken much interest in the growing story about the possibility that Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) was offered a job to entice him out of the primary race against incumbent senator Arlen Specter. If true, this apparently is illegal.

But does anyone think horse-trading like this does not happen in politics all the time? Perhaps someone was gauche enough to name the price of the horse, and perhaps someone didn’t know enough to keep his mouth shut about it. But it’s pretty much a law of physics that an entrenched group of politicians at a remote level of government is going to divvy up the emoluments the public has ceded to them. A law to the contrary may aspire to some ideal of good government, but its effect is only to hide what is going on.

Only if you pretend that politicians are selfless do you find horse-trading around the Pennsylvania Senate race unusual.

Telling and Fighting

There is a popular argument that, what with two wars underway, this is no time to rock the military by abolishing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and letting homosexuals serve openly. That’s basically what the secretary of defense says.

This post by Stephen Walt reminded me that the opposite is true: that wars are an opportunity to change dumb personnel policies. The end of war in Iraq will deprive advocates of equality in military service of one of their best arguments: restrictions on who the military can employ undermine the effort to win. And the best advocates for the change are current and former service members making that point.

Rachel Maddow had a good segment the other day on the topic. Her guests were a gay, Arabic-speaking lieutenant who is being booted out of the Army National Guard for coming out, and former rear admiral and now Pennslyvania congressman Joe Sestak, who is co-sponsoring legislation to change the law.

I predict that allowing gays to serve openly will be like allowing women on navy ships or even gay marriage. Lots of people fight it. Then it happens, it’s no big deal, and everyone forgets what they were so upset about.