In a stunning development, with the government shutdown having removed the young aides who take his calls, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has been left to answer his own phone.
According to Politico, White House staff trimming has forced “essential” workers like Carney to do the “nonessential” things that suddenly seem more “essential” than thought. Like answering the phone, sending out press releases, and so forth.
The problem pervades the White House. The Council of Economic Advisors, for example, is down to four employees from two dozen, though given the CEA’s performance, it may not make much of a difference. Actually, we might soon be seeing some positive effects.
I will say, snarkiness aside, that the White House press secretary’s job is one of the most difficult in town. The press secretary must not only brief, but attend meetings so he knows what’s going on, offer communications advice, and deal with reporters, who are not easy to deal with.
I can of course hear all of you now are shedding real tears for Jay. I realize he is bound to make millions after departing the White House, he may return to a future Democratic administration in a more senior position, he’s known to try to curtail speech by bullying reporters, and he spends large portions of his busy day figuring out how to obscure and contort facts.
But he’s also a true believer in liberal principles – not a cynic – a dedicated worker who misses his children, and for better or worse, he’s effective at his job.
So I’ll do him a favor and not give out his phone number.