As I’ve said in the past, I never envy the White House Press Secretary for the job they have to do. It’s essentially a position where you agree to go out week after week and serve as the punching bag for someone else as you speak their words and defend their decisions, with no option to express your own views. Jay Carney had that much abused task for quite a while, but now he’s on the loose and able to put in his own two cents. Speaking to Anderson Cooper on the subject of executive amnesty, he did just that.
COOPER: So, I mean, other than his frustration, what has changed — constitution scholar. What changed to allow him to do this?
JAY CARNEY: Here’s what I say. I think if he could have those words back, especially the first clip where he specifically talked about suspending deportations. That is literally what he is doing today. In, later instances including when I was there he would speak carefully about what he could not do as president.
He can’t change the law. He can’t provide a path to citizenship. He can’t do the things that only Congress can do. But he can using executive authority do what he did tonight, which is, order the agencies to exercise prosecutorial discretion in terms of how they deport people.
There’s really no surprise here that we haven’t heard already from a parade of individuals – liberal and conservative alike – since rumors of this deal first began leaking out. What’s more interesting is the sliver of light it sheds on the cloistered environment inside the White House. It’s got to be a somewhat suffocating experience to work there for years on end if you hold any position other than the one behind the desk in the Oval Office. If Carney had gone out in front of a camera while still employed by his old boss and said what we heard in this clip, he would disappear from the scene faster than a ribeye left unattended near my old basset hound.
This applies to others who have sat quietly in various Executive branch positions for years, only to go charging off the ranch once their officials roles end. I’d really like to get an interview with Carney or any of his predecessors one of these days. If I could ask them a single question, it would be, “was there ever a day when you started reading the script and felt like just stopping half way through, ripping it up, and declaring that you just couldn’t peddle this dog poo any longer?”