The good news: we won’t have to look at Jen Psaki’s idiotic bob-and-weave act as the chief spokesmoron at the State Department.
The bad news: From now on, Jen Psaki will be in charge of the White House communications shop, and she’ll be making the decisions about what’s said.
Ms. Psaki will replace Jennifer Palmieri, a veteran Democratic strategist who is leaving the White House to join Hillary Rodham Clinton’s likely presidential campaign. She will start her new job April 1. The Associated Press first reported the move.
In a statement, Mr. Obama said Ms. Palmieri is a “good friend” and praised her as a “brilliant and effective communications director and trusted adviser.”
“I’d say Jen is irreplaceable — if Jen Psaki hadn’t agreed to step in,” Mr. Obama said. “I fully trust Jen — and I am thrilled she’s agreed to come back to the White House as communications director.”
The utter lack of quality among Obama’s underlings has been a notable, and increasing, feature of his presidency. Many administrations, as they wind down into lame-duck status, will reach to the outside and bring in new blood in hopes of keeping the wheels turning. But Obama’s operation seems to do the opposite – it has cultivated a cadre of political hacks who were on board with Obama’s campaign back in 2007, and has promoted them as a reward for loyalty above any actual achievement they’ve shown.
The key benefit to this, and probably the only benefit, is that there are fewer damaging leaks and next to zero whistleblowing in this administration. You just don’t see any cracks. But while that message discipline might be impressive, it’s often a severe detriment to the credibility of the office. When the entire administration refuses to identify Islam or jihad as our primary threat, for example, and babbles about “root causes” with one voice, the ridicule rises all through the administration and doesn’t just stop with a goofy underling.
And so we have the steady rise of Jen Psaki, who before making a consistent ass of herself in State Department briefings was last in the news as the orchestrator of the thoroughly-contemptible Joe Soptic smear in 2012, in which Psaki attempted to sell the public on the idea that Mitt Romney had killed the wife of a union steelworker with cancer because Bain Capital had laid him off after buying the steel mill at which he worked, and thus denied him health insurance. In another organization she would have been cashiered for that disgrace – but Psaki was just following orders. Obama’s strategy was to dive to any depth in order to paint Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat, and when that flowed downhill to Psaki she was happy to put her name on a despicable lie in furtherance of that strategy.
Jen Psaki is, if we’re allowed to bend her gender a bit, a yes-man. That’s why she’s moving up. It’s not that she’s good at her job or that she has the kind of character America needs in high positions of government. She’s a loyal flunky, and for Obama that is enough.
Exit question: does this make Marie Harf the head spokesmoron at the State Department?