Not that the White House cares. Or do most of the people reading this, except in a theoretical, pass-the-popcorn sense, I suppose:
The White House today posted on its website a video allowing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to speak “in her own words” about her personal history and perspective.
In the interview, conducted by a White House staffer who produces videos for the administration, Kagan discusses her childhood, parents and professional career. At one point she jokes that people get confused between her job as solicitor general arguing cases before the Supreme Court and the attorney general, who puts “the labels on the cigarette packages.”
While the White House seems to believe the American people deserve to hear from Kagan, it has not made her available to reporters. That prompted some consternation at today’s White House briefing.
As most folks involved with the VRWC will happily tell you, this is a totally-expected and unsurprising gambit in the administration’s ongoing move to turn the media’s 2008 infatuation with the President into whole-scale neutering. The White House’s logic is compelling, in its way: they know what they want Kagan to say, they have no intention of letting her say anything to the media that is off-message, so why even bother with the formality of an outside interview? There are plenty of people in the Executive branch of government who know how to operate a video camera, so get one of those, do the interview, hand it to the media, and tell them to get it on the nightly news. That’s how it worked in the campaign, right? Doing it this nakedly is just more… efficient.
It will be fascinating to see whether this ends up being the Obama administration’s War of Jenkins’ Ear moment. Particularly if the White House ends up playing the part of the Spanish…
Crossposted to Moe Lane.