Other than possibly making money off the speaking circuit, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is apparently unemployable. His “dishonesty” from the podium and the notoriety brought by Mellissa McCarthy’s Saturday Night Live sendups have made Spicer the man nobody in Washington wants.
In an excellent and not necessarily unsympathetic piece, Politico media columnist Jack Shafer writes that Spicer is unique in the annals of Washington in that he doesn’t seem to be able to get a new Washington gig or bounce back from his own infamy.
Since leaving the White House this summer, he has gained admittance to a circle of one: He has become a Washington pariah. Nobody wants to be anywhere near him, but everyone wants to talk smack about him. He’s not just a punchline. He’s become a national laughing stock ever since his cameo on the Emmy Awards this week, where he attempted a joke about his most famous White House lie.
It seems anyone can have a second act in Washington except Spicer.
Washington routinely forgives its philanderers, drug addicts and alcoholics, embezzlers, perjurers, bribers and bribees, liars, burglars and tax evaders, granting them the redemption of another term in office or a job in a lobbying shop or think tank after their scandal passes. It even absolved a drunk who killed a young lady, giving him a prince’s funeral when he died.
The last line, for those of you who only know him as “the Lion of the Senate,” is a reference to Ted Kennedy, who killed Mary Jo Kopechne when he drunk-drove off a bridge with her, left the scene, and then failed to alert authorities for hours. And liberals who worshipped Kennedy are worried about Donald Trump’s treatment of women.
Sure, Sean went a little too far at times, even for a White House flack. But every presidential press secretary lies. That’s the job. I’d say the only two press secretaries I’ve seen in 20 years covering the White House who made a serious attempt to tell the truth were Dana Perino and the late Tony Snow, who each worked for George W. Bush.
Sean made the mistake of not being as smooth at it as others and doing it for a Republican, sins that got him lampooned on SNL.
The dirty little secret in Washington is that everyone likes Sean. He willingly took on a role in which he was directed to be extremely confrontational, but Spicer has been around for years and probably maintains most of the goodwill he had built up as a guy who was knowledgeable, tried to be helpful, and was easy to be with. But now he’s got the cooties bigtime, and no one will touch him.
Of course, while he was press secretary, confrontational or not, everyone was kissing his feet begging for access and information. The same networks that today won’t hire him as a commentator because he supposedly lacks credibility would gladly have had Spicer on the TV tube to talk all he wanted when he was powerful. Now that nobody needs him, Washington’s hypocrites have mounted their high horses to trample Spicer with abandon.
Who knows, maybe Trump will bring him back. Then everyone will get off their high horse, because it’s difficult from there to get to his feet.