To be a White House press secretary, you need to be a skilled liar.
I covered the White House for a dozen years as a correspondent for a national newspaper and have watched a couple dozen secretaries come and go over my 30+ years covering politics, so trust me.
Another skill the official spokespeople need is the ability to obfuscate. When Ari Fleischer, press secretary for President George W. Bush, would hold daily briefings, I remember plenty of times when he’d say something and I’d think, “OK, that’s a good quote to build a story around.”
Then I’d read the transcript later only to find out that he didn’t say what I thought he said, that he talked all around a subject without really saying anything at all.
So it’s unusual when you get a press secretary to utter a declarative sentence — especially if it’s a frank admission that’s detrimental to their own party. That’s just what Jen Psaki, former press secretary for President Joe Biden, did this week.
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Psaki referenced a video clip that had just played with House Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
“Look, I think that Democrats, if the election is about who is the most extreme, as we saw, you know, Kevin McCarthy touch on there with Marjorie Taylor Greene, I’ll say her name, sitting over his left side, then they’re going to win,” she said.
Then she went there. “If it is a referendum on the president, they will lose, and they know that,” Psaki said. “Crime is a huge vulnerability for Democrats, I would say, one of the biggest vulnerabilities.”
Indeed it is. And Psaki is exactly right: If voters go to the polls in a mid-term election to express their displeasure with the president, it’ll be a bloodbath for Democrats.
Biden’s approval ratings have been in the dumper ever since he took office, dipping all the way down to the mid-30s. Americans are being crushed by inflation, skyrocketing gasoline and food prices, but soaring crime rates across the country will also be a big driving factor in the November elections, too.
Nationwide polling shows voters see Republicans as more capable to handle public safety — a recent survey by The New York Times/Siena College released earlier this month showed the GOP holds a 10-point margin.
“The full picture on crime rates is nuanced. Homicides soared in 2020 and 2021 before decreasing slightly this year,” the Times wrote. “An analysis of crime trends in the first half of 2022 by the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan policy and research group, found that murders and gun assaults in major American cities fell slightly during the first half of 2022, but remained nearly 40 percent higher than before the pandemic. Robberies and some property offenses posted double-digit increases.”
The party in the White House almost always loses House and Senate seats in the midterm elections, in which voters often cast their ballots based on kitchen table issues like the economy — another point Psaki, now a contributor to MSNBC, conceded.
“So, yes, the economy is hanging over everything, but you have [to] look at state-by-state factors, and crime is a huge issue in the Pennsylvania race,” Psaki said.
Right again. And a frank admission from a die-hard Democrat.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.