Commentary Magazine


Sharp Lawyers

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Barack Obama had begun thinking about his Senate successor even before the presidential election, and dispatched Rahm Emanuel days after the vote to contact aides of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to begin talking up Mr. Obama’s preferred candidates, associates of Mr. Emanuel said this weekend.

If true, then the President-elect’s “I” had no contact with Blago is particularly Clinton-esque. The full and complete truth was: ” I didn’t, but I instructed my Chief of Staff designee to have conversations and relay my requests.” Why the evasion and half-truth? It seems unfortunate and ill-advised. He certainly knew that the Rahm Emanuel conversation would come to light, so why hide the ball? And if in fact the conversation was wholly innocent, it certainly would have reassured the public that Emanuel, far from “dealing,” was simply conveying a message.

Instead we are left puzzling over the substance of that conversation and whether Emanuel, even if he did no wrong, was made aware that Blago had a shake-down in mind. Meanwhile, that promised list of all the contacts with Blago’s office hasn’t been delivered.

For a group of people whom we are assured did absolutely nothing wrong, they certainly are acting like sophisticated lawyers: delay, delay, delay.