Alongside her colleague Marie Harf, State Department Spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki has become the focus of a significant amount of scrutiny in the right-leaning press. After serving as a press liaison for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, Psaki moved on to the State Department. There, she was responsible for such hits as scolding Moscow for not living up to the “promise of hashtag“, conceding that the administration is utterly without a policy approach toward the most populous Arab nation on Earth, and being incapable of naming a single lasting military accomplishment secured by America’s indigenous “boots on the ground” in Iraq.
On Thursday, Psaki failed up. Way up.
The White House revealed this week that Psaki would be moving on from her role as spokeswoman for America’s chief diplomat and will be diving back into the political fray. She will soon transition back into the White House to serve as Obama’s new director of communications.
She replaces veteran Democratic media strategist Jennifer Palmieri, who is leaving the White House to join Hillary Rodham Clinton’s likely presidential campaign. She will step into her new role April 1.
Psaki will be returning to the White House where she helped craft Obama’s message during the president’s first term. She has been part of Obama’s team since 2007, when she was traveling press secretary during his first presidential campaign.
The move allows Obama to replace a senior aide with a familiar face who is already steeped in issues confronting the White House.
Thus confirming the truism that the quality of administration officials declines exponentially after the sixth year midterm election.
It has to be just a little disappointing for administration officials who are not scooped up by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign-in-waiting. Being tapped to take over for Palmieri might as well be an acknowledgment of the fact that Psaki is better known for her stumbles as a spokesperson for Foggy Bottom than she is for her successes. All too often, Psaki became the story rather than simply a vehicle for communicating that institution’s perspective.
Whatever you think of the Obama White House, Palmieri rarely made headlines for her missteps in her role as White House Communications Director. And she had every opportunity to fumble. Despite the fact that she was often a fixture on cable news programs – particularly when the administration was facing a political crisis – Palmieri rarely embarrassed her superiors. By contrast, the State Department’s communications team in Obama’s second term in office has been notable primarily for their consistent ability to provide right-of-center humorists with material.
The good news for conservatives here is that the comedy will just keep coming. For the White House, however, the challenges are only just beginning.