That's how I hear this Think Progress argument:
Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto irresponsibly pushed the baseless rumor that President Obama bought Rep. Jim Matheson’s (D-UT) vote on health care reform by offering his brother a federal judgeship. First, Cavuto invited the originator of the conspiracy theory, Weekly Standard’s John McCormack. For his part, McCormack undermined his own argument. “Was there an explicit quid pro quo? Probably not,” he said. Next, Cavuto invited Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who reiterated her call for an investigation into the matter. But Bachmann, too, acknowledged the lack of any basis for the claim. “We don’t know — that’s the question,” she said.It's not a "conspiracy theory": It's the observation of facts that create an appearance of impropriety. TP is saying we should forget about it because Obama didn't openly state that he was making the nomination in exchange for the vote. Of course, there's no explicit quid pro quo! How do you think successful corrupt individuals perform corrupt acts? If it were a quid pro quo, there'd be no explicit quid pro quo — certainly not one that we'd hear. Lack of any basis? The basis is the nomination of the brother of a man whose vote is needed. Think Progress conveniently pretends that "any basis" is the same thing as "conclusive proof." You know damned well that if Bush were still President, needed a vote from a congressman, and nominated that congressman's brother, Think Progress and its ilk would be screaming for an investigation.
Steven Benen of Political Animal calls it the "Manufactured Controversy of the Day." And I call that the Manufactured Desperate Spin of the Day.
"Republicans gleefully circulated a Weekly Standard piece yesterday that asked if Obama was trying to buy Matheson's vote by nominating his brother, Scott, to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the White House and Matheson's office swiftly answered the question with a resounding 'no.' "They didn't confess to an explicit quid pro quo? Well, then, move along! Please tell us, Mr. Benen, what you would have said if George Bush had done exactly this much.
Rep. Matheson's spokesperson called the question "patently ridiculous." A White House official called the question "absurd."And what would they have said if there was something more to the nomination than just the brother's outstanding credentials? The same thing.
Is there any evidence — anything at all — to suggest the Matheson nomination is related in any way to getting his brother's vote on health care? No. There's literally nothing.Of course, there is evidence. The evidence is the need to persuade the congressman and the timing of the the nomination of the brother. It's not conclusive proof, but it is evidence. We need more evidence to answer our questions, but there is surely a basis of our questions.
But it's nevertheless the talk of the conservative world today....And you know damned well it would be the talk of the liberal world if Bush were still President and... man, that point is tedious. But it's so apt! Politicos are so boring. Blech.