Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
I have to confess that my heart sank when I saw the news that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of the month.
The torrential, not to mention joyous and celebratory, outpouring of hate and invective with which the media and NeverTrumpers (including, regrettably, a number of former RedState contributors) is greeting her upcoming exit further confirms for me that her departure is a true loss.
In general, for any Republican White House member of staff to depart the White House to so much animus and relief by the progressive establishment is a sure sign that he or she has been effective in his or her role. This goes doubly so for a Press Secretary.
As an illustrative example, when Ari Fleischer left the Bush White House, his departure was accompanied by similar hate and hostility. By contrast, the well-wishes and congratulations as Scott McClellan (who would soon afterwards write a book attacking President Bush and follow that up with endorsing Barack Obama for President) announced his departure reflected the fact that he was utterly useless at his job, and was a complete failure as an advocate for his President.
The reality is that, to the shock and horror of Washington’s progressive taste makers and the delicate fainting “civility cops” of the Republican Party, Sanders is guilty of the unforgivable sin of failing to treat the media with the deference (and fear) to which they’ve become accustomed, and instead, has treated them with no more and no less the respect and consideration they deserve.
Given how profound and all-consuming the hate and calumny from the media has been in the last few days, Sanders is obviously in a class all by herself.
So while I find myself saddened by Sanders’ departure, I have to appreciate the fact that, as 2020 approaches, the pressures of the job are only going to increase, and after nearly two years of dealing with the most disingenuous, dishonest and dishonorable actors in politics today, it is only natural for Ms. Sanders to want to take a break, especially after a job well done.
What this means though is that she has set a standard that must be matched by whoever succeeds her at the White House podium. Actually, with 2020 in the background, he or she must exceed her, with the first step being acknowledging that there is no hope of a rapprochement between the Trump White House and the Press Corps. And that this has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Let us not forget that the Bush (’43) White House consistently treated the media with courtesy and respect, and that every one of President Bush’s Press Secretaries, even Ari Fleischer, made an attempt to establish a friendly rapport with the Press. The Bush White House not only deliberately refused on multiple occasions to counter blatantly fabricated narratives as they were being knowingly spread by news outlets, but also had the President get on stage and act the clown for journalists’ amusement at White House Correspondents Dinners.
These attempts at appeasement earned nothing for the Bush White House, and far from being reciprocated, the continued courtesy and respect only brought increased hostility and contempt, and the eventual kneecapping and destruction of his Presidency.
To be clear, every Republican President in the last 50 years has entered the Oval Office under a declaration of war against him by the Press Corps. From the moment he is confirmed as the President-elect, a heavy majority of the nation’s major national and regional newsrooms dedicate themselves to sabotaging his agenda and undermining his credibility and legitimacy at home and abroad.
The next White House Press Secretary must therefore consciously come in on a war footing, with nothing less than the total annihilation of the progressive media’s own credibility and legitimacy as the end goal.
We need someone who is prepared to throw etiquette out the window and openly call out and shame individual journalists and news outlets for lying, spinning and partisanship. We need someone capable of getting into the weeds and arguing a point down till he/she wins. We need someone who is prepared to bring up and mash their “failures” in their faces and is capable of openly suggesting that they deliberately publish false information knowing full well that far less people will see their “corrections” than the original.
We need someone who can say the unsayable, e.g. respond to the highly convenient and increasingly common “death threat” claims by journalists by openly suggesting the possibility that they are “smolletting” to shut up their critics and for partisan advantage. We need someone who can call them out for hypocrisy and double standards and highlight the lapdog/stenographer role they play for Democrat Administrations.
In my ideal version of events, a Republican White House Press Secretary would hold White House Press Briefings several times a week, and begin every briefing with a reiteration of the Administration’s commitment to journalists’ liberty to publish what they want – including their right to publish false information about the Administration – and note specifically that this declaration is necessary to counter certain unscrupulous characters in the media who falsely claim the Administration threatens Press freedoms. And he or she would end with every briefing with a short non-exhaustive list of things (written on the fly by an aide) he/she did *not* say, openly suggesting that they would lie on him otherwise.
So while I’d be very happy if the amazing Mollie Hemingway (of The Federalist) is offered the job, as a number of people I respect are recommending, two other people come to mind for me.
Both are full-fledged conservatives, both win-oriented, combative, confrontational, both authors with media experience, both harbor a healthy contempt and disdain for the current iteration of the Fourth Estate – so much so that one of them even recently wrote a book about it.
And unlike Ms. Hemingway, both are mature and established enough to not be worried about their future prospects after Trump exits the Oval Office.
In other words, if I were to recommend two people from which President Trump would offer the job, I would recommend Mark Levin and/or Kurt Schlicter.
I sincerely believe either one of these two men would make the Press fondly recall Sarah Sanders tenure at the podium as a time of joy and happiness.