John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:
Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Let us consider the possibility, for a brief moment, that it is merely coincidence.
Is the White House so fantastically blind and tone-deaf that it failed to detect the blood-red flags and blaring alarm bells that Scott Matheson’s judicial nomination would raise coming on the very day President Obama is wooing his brother, Jim?
Incorrigibly corrupt or incorrigibly stupid. Take your pick.
Lori Ziganto at Redstate:
For anyone other than a delusional egomaniac, the fact that you have a super majority yet still cannot pass legislation — because no one wants it — would be enough to tell you, hey, maybe this isn’t a very good idea. Not Obama! Raised up politically in Chicago, he resorts to what he knows; strong arm tactics and outright bribery. This isn’t the first time more than just shades of his Chicago political background have come into play. He pulled the Chicago version of the petulant child saying “La la la, I can’t hear you” when he tried to freeze out Fox News and censor the citizenry’s news.
When that failed, much like everything he touches, he moved onto the Chicago-style equivalent of the smarmy, unethical Class President candidate, promising Pizza Fridays for votes. Now, for your brothers too! It has become a pattern, starting with bribery attempts for inconvenient primary challengers to drop their bids and has now moved onto vote buying. I’m starting to think that the Pay Czar is actually a Payola Czar.
They can’t, however, bribe the public with the public’s money. I do believe the 2010 elections might teach them that lesson.
John Hinderaker at Powerline:
As to the Matheson nomination, I think the criticism is not well-founded. That doesn’t mean that Obama didn’t have one eye on Congressman Jim Matheson when he selected Professor Scott Matheson for the 10th Circuit. No one will ever know, probably. But Professor Matheson would be an ideal choice for Obama even if he didn’t have a brother in Congress. He is a law professor at the University of Utah, a graduate of Stanford, Oxford and Yale Law School, a professor (briefly) at the Kennedy School at Harvard, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Utah, and a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah. His credentials are unimpeachable and, more important, comprise the sort of resume that Democrats love. Best of all, Professor Matheson has just written a book on Presidential usurpations of constitutional authority–my paraphrase–titled Presidential Constitutionalism in Perilous Times, which contrasts President Obama favorably with George W. Bush and generally offers up a conventionally liberal view on the powers of the executive.
Thus, President Obama could not have found a more suitable nominee, from a liberal Democratic perspective, than Scott Matheson. It would be unfair to assume that he selected Matheson in order to influence his brother; on the contrary, if Matheson had no siblings at all he would be an ideal liberal judicial candidate. So I think we must acquit President Obama of that charge.
I am assuming that Scott Matheson has the credentials to serve on the federal court. So do many others. (Not me. I lack judicial temperament.) But the President chooses from a large pool of individuals with good enough credentials. What are the good enough reasons to pick a person out of the pool? To buy the vote of his brother the Congressmen? Obviously not.
And even if you want to argue that it’s a good enough reason, Barack Obama won the presidency by holding himself out as powerfully virtuous, as the man who would change the way Washington works. When I voted for Obama, I didn’t think that was going to be the set-up for sarcastic, world-weary jokes.
Philip Klein at American Spectator:
A local news station reports that Matheson and the administration are dismissing claims that there’s a connection:
White House officials call the implication that Matheson’s nomination has something to do with his health care vote “absurd.”
Matheson says he hadn’t even had time to talk to his brother, Scott. But he did scold news outlets for asking about the timing.
As Michael Corleone later tells his wife, “It was between the brothers Kay — I had nothing to do with it.”