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So Bill Clinton and Joe Sestak "discussed alternative paths to service," in the words of White House counsel Robert Bauer, and a wonderful new euphemism is born. If "hiking the Appalachian Trail: is (thanks to South Carolina governor Mark Sanford) forever a coded way to refer to sexual intercourse, then "discussing alternative paths to service" will always mean attempted bribery, or at least attempted bribery with the offer of a job. No, no, of course I don’t think the Obama administration did anything illegal, or even terribly wrong, in sending the former president out to dangle a seat on an unpaid advisory commission in front of Rep. Sestak, in a failed attempt to discourage him from running against Senator Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary. I wouldn’t even be terribly offended if it had turned out that he was offered Secretary of the Navy. As everyone has pointed out, this is politics. It’s not even "just politics," which suggests something slimy but inevitable in this world of sinners. It’s politics.

That great movie, His Girl Friday, has a wonderful scene in which the Sheriff of Cook County and the Mayor of Chicago discuss alternative paths to service with an emissary from the governor. You can watch the movie for free here. The scene I’m referring to starts at around minute 56, but why not start at the beginning and enjoy the whole thing?

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