Joe Sestak: Um, yeah, Obama tried to buy me off by offering me a job

Comedy gold from “Meet the Press,” polished off by DNC Chair Tim Kaine grudgingly admitting that it might be time for the White House to come clean. If you need your memory jogged about this, I don’t blame you: Sestak first dropped the bombshell that the White House tried to bribe him out of the primary against Specter more than three months ago. A month after that, pieces were already appearing about how absurd Gibbs’s stonewalling had become; two months later, he’s still stonewalling, refusing this morning to tell Bob Schieffer anything about it except that nothing “inappropriate” happened. Which is probably true: Handing Sestak a briefcase full of money to get out of the race would be indictment-worthy, but handing him the same cash in the form of a paycheck plus the prestige that comes with the title of Secretary of the Navy is just good ol’ horse-trading. No wonder “Washington” is a curse word.

Back when this story first broke, I thought Specter would stand a better chance against Toomey than Sestak would, reasoning that in a Republican year a more centrist Democrat would fare better than a liberal. That was a miscalculation — Specter’s naked opportunism and entrenched incumbency probably would have left him a sitting duck — but evidently the White House’s political team miscalculated the same way, which is … surprising. I realize that they promised Specter they’d campaign for him, but to be so committed to him as to try to buy Sestak off seems bizarre in hindsight. It could be, I suppose, that they feared that a contentious primary would hurt their chances in the general regardless of who won, but that would be a miscalculation too. What kind of shop is Axelrod running over there?