Goldberg: Release the White House Hacks!

white-house-dusk

For National Review OnlineJonah Goldberg writes: I think the Bergdahl story is really very serious and there are still lots of things we don’t know. My friend James Rosen’s story that Bergdahl turned mujahideen in captivity is very interesting, but it doesn’t mean — nor does Rosen say — that he was a jihadi when he left his base.

captive

“…we know he had a habit of wandering off base. That may make him a flake or an idiot, but it doesn’t prove he was a deserter.”

And, while the case doesn’t look good for Bergdahl, we don’t know that he was a deserter yet. We only know that he was AWOL. Indeed, according to an earlier Pentagon report, we know he had a habit of wandering off base. That may make him a flake or an idiot, but it doesn’t prove he was a deserter.

clown-counsel

“Of course, no president is immune to gaffes, but you try to keep them out of the prepared text.”

Indeed, there are so many unknowns here that it might be best to withhold judgment on a lot of aspects to this story.tyranny-of-cliches

[Jonah’s book, The Tyranny of Cliches, is available at Amazon]

Save perhaps one: The White House is run by clowns. It’s like a Fellini movie over there. Actually, that’s not quite fair. Clowns are actually pretty professional. They go to school to do what they do. That reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from The Simpsons. Sideshow Bob is talking to his brother Cecil through the plate glass of a jail visiting room.

Sideshow Bob: You wanted to be Krusty’s sidekick since you were five. What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college?
Cecil Terwilliger: I’ll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.

Look, I’m not making an ideological point here. For years, the White House had certain procedures and mechanisms in place that helped to ensure the dignity of the office and protect the president from saying too many things he’d later regret (like screwing up Billie Jean King’s resume, or slandering Rutherford B. Hayes, or calling the Benghazi attack a “bump in the road”). Of course, no president is immune to gaffes, but you try to keep them out of the prepared text. And of course, as conservatives, we can appreciate what amounts to one of our core insights on how the world works: Sometimes things go badly (I think it sounds more impressive in Latin).

surreal-presser

“In the old days, there was an unwritten rule of politics: Don’t put the president next to a guy who looks like he just emerged out of spider-hole with Mullah Omar.”

In the old days, there was an unwritten rule of politics: Don’t put the president next to a guy who looks like he just emerged out of spider-hole with Mullah Omar. But these are more relaxed and tolerant times. Still, in the Washington of yore, the president’s advance team would at least go over with the president’s guests what they might say when standing alongside the leader of the free world. You know just to make sure everyone is on the same page. But that’s hard to do when the page is written in . . . Pashto!

…I shouldn’t make light of Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl’s ordeal, even if Mr. Bergdahl seems to have some, uh, interesting ideas. They remain sympathetic people put in a horrible situation (which is one reason the president desperately tried to make this all about them, as I write here).

firecracker-label-clown-brand

My only point is that the White House’s political chops in this fiasco look about as sharp as Dom DeLuise’s forehead. That’s kind of weird when you consider that his foreign-policy shop is largely run by political hacks — as Kim Strassel notes in her excellent column from yesterday. “Obama’s Kissingers,” as Strassel calls them, should be better at the politics than the foreign policy, given their resumes. But it turns out they stink at both. When you run foreign policy like a domestic political operation, it turns out that both the policy and the politics can blow up on you(read more)

National Review Online


2 Comments on “Goldberg: Release the White House Hacks!”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet For National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg writes: I think the Bergdahl story is really very […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.