The Corner

Dana Milbank vs. Jay Carney, Part Deux

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wasted no time in going after my former Time colleague Jay Carney, greeting him with this little stink bomb right after he took over the White House press secretary gig from Robert Gibbs.

Now Dana’s back, and he’s still got it in for Jay:

There have been worse times to start a new job in Washington. When Abraham Lincoln arrived in the capital 150 years ago this week, for example, the South had already seceded.

Jay Carney, the new White House press secretary, didn’t have anything quite so dire on his hands when he took over the briefing room podium last week. But President Obama has put his new spokesman in an unenviable position: He is the mouthpiece of an administration that has painfully little to say.

Ouch and double ouch. The real target of Milbank’s ire, though, is not Carney but the Obama administration, whose pathetic response (“a scheduling conflict”) to the fires sweeping Libya would be laughable it if weren’t so incompetent. As I said on the radio yesterday, Hillary Clinton looks like somebody just woke her up (at 3 a.m.), told her she was secretary of state, and to get out there and take one for the team.

Obama, of course, is even worse. Here’s Milbank again, whacking that piñata:

“If there is a clear set of principles, why has the president chosen to not enunciate them for several days now?” asked CNN’s Ed Henry.

“So it’s fair to say we are in the midst of, sort of, changing, reworking our Middle East policy?” asked NBC’s Chuck Todd.

Carney retreated to more talk about timeless principles. And that’s about the best he can do — until the president devises a policy for him to talk about.

I think we all know by now there isn’t going to be a policy, just a series of inept ad hoc responses to a signal upheaval in world history.

That’s not Jay’s fault. It’s Barry’s. 

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