The PJ Tatler

Jay Carney Lacks the Gravitas to Represent the White House During the Debt Crisis

Just an observation after watching White House spokeman Jay Carney a few minutes ago. The Debtageddon debate has brought out all the big guns in Congress, as Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor duel with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over their competing plans — neither of which will pass either house of Congress at this point. While the debate itself is still not serious enough and no one is proposing spending cuts deep enough to really correct our budget problem, at lease one gets the sense from all the major congressional leaders that they’re people who bring some time in the trenches and some serious ideas to bear. Agree or disagree with them, they’re not frivolous people.

And then there’s the White House. The president has chosen as his spokesman, the voice and face of his White House, young Jay Carney. Carney is a poor choice in spokesmen. Carney brings no particular depth or knowledge to bear, and brings no personal authority of his own. The White House hired Carney from a magazine writing gig, and there’s nothing wrong with such jobs (I hold one myself, more or less), but he doesn’t seem to have any deep experience or knowledge beyond punditry at all. So when Carney moves into lecture mode and scolds that “we all need to come together” as his lips form a slight sneer, he seems to be about as deep and rich with experience as a blank sheet of paper. There’s no there there with Jay Carney. His voice and visage add precisely nothing, no weight or authority at all, for the White House to leverage. He gives off the vibe of a puppet in the hands of a poor ventriloquist whose lips you constantly catch in motion.

The nation needs a White House that can at least appear to have some idea of what’s going on, and it would help to be able to project an image of leading the discussion in some way. Carney is unable and ill-equipped to project any of that. Carney is merely a reflection of his paper-thin boss, of course, but the White House would do well to sideline him and bring in a spokesman with a few battles to his or her name to represent it. I for one resent being lectured at every day by someone who can’t even pretend that he knows what he is talking about, and I can’t imagine that anyone in Congress likes it any more than I do.