The Best Flea In The Circus

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney conducts his daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2013. He took questions about access for still photographers in the wake of the op-ed piece in the New York Times by Santiago Lyon, Vice President and Director of Photography at The Associated Press. UPI/Ron Sachs/Pool

I have never felt badly for White House press secretary Jay Carney before. Actually, I still don’t feel badly for him; it’s more that I don’t envy him. I sympathize with the lead marionette in President Barack Obama’s sock puppet show; but I don’t — I can’t — empathize with him. After all, he took the job. And with that job comes certain inescapable duties. Serving as the press secretary for Obama requires the officeholder to face less fire than most, since the ideological kinship between the lapdog media and their man, Barry, borders on the incestuous. But even Obama can test the limits of their adoration. And when he does, it falls to poor Carney to grimace, adjust his ironic hipster glasses and try to soothe the media’s delicate feelings.

Monday afternoon, Carney stood his post when Obama blundered into yet another snare of his own making. Obama proclaimed Tuesday would be “National Equal Pay Day.” Given the Democrats’ tendency to wrap themselves in the righteous outrage of whichever self-identified victim class is currently in vogue, Obama’s announcement barely qualified as noteworthy. Democrats love co-opting other people’s suffering — especially when the suffering opens the door to a talking point like the Democrats’ oft-cited, yet entirely fictional, conservative “war on women.”

Unfortunately for Carney, someone noticed the elephantine hypocrisy wandering around the White House. It might have been ladies’ night in the Oval Office, but the rest of the Obama Administration clearly remained a man’s world. And in a sign that the love affair between the media and Obama has hit one of its periodic rough patches, a correspondent from the normally affectionate press corps hoisted Carney on Obama’s gender-bias petard. During the Q&A, a reporter noted the discrepancy between Obama’s equal-pay platitudes and his own workplace policies, specifically citing the American Enterprise Institute’s discovery of the 88 cents on the dollar earned by White House women compared to their male counterparts — a fact we’ve pointed out here at Personal Liberty on multiple occasions. And that’s when Carney found himself right smack in the middle of God’s little acre, east of the rock and west of the hard place.

I think that those studies look at, uh, the aggregate of everyone on staff. And that includes some of the most junior levels to the most senior. What I can tell you is that we have, as an institution here, have aggressively addressed this challenge. And obviously, though, at the end of the [inaudible] 88 cents that you cite, that is not 100, but it is better than the national average.

That was the moment I felt just a twinge of regret on his behalf. Because his boss is a duplicitous reprobate, Carney actually had to say that out loud — and with a straight face. Presented with Obama’s failure to live up to his own standards, Carney could do no better than a halfhearted excuse which translates to, “We’re probably better than average.”

Before Carney picked up the lead fan in Obama’s stage show, he served as the top mouthpiece for Vice President Joe Biden. I expect even the endless damage control required of an Obama spokesman seems almost relaxing when compared to the shame of working for a gibbering buffoon like Biden. Carney certainly could have stayed at TIME magazine, where mouthing leftist tripe delivers a smaller paycheck and less infamy than his current posting, but carries with it less risk of public humiliation than working for a pathological liar like Obama. Unfortunately for our pal, Jay, he forgot one of politics’ — and life’s — most important lessons: If you lie with Democrats, you’re bound to be a flea.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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