*Posted by Kirk Spencer
In the summer of ’87, while standing just inside the Joppa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, I smelled the most horrible smell I have ever smelled. As bad as it was (and it was bad), I was curious at what could generate such a stench. So I began following my nose. As I made my way down the cobblestone street into the dark bazaar the smell actually got worse—which I did not think possible. It became almost unbearable. My eyes began watering and my olfactory began to revolt. The source seemed to be just around the corner up ahead, but my gag-reflex was warning me against making the turn. As I had already gone this far, I ignored the warning and turned the corner; but there was nothing there… just more cobblestone street. However, a ways down the street (and up-wind) I saw some activity. As I neared the activity, the smell became almost palpable. It was so thick I felt I was “wading” through the air. Then I arrived… There it was. The street stones had been pulled up to expose the open sewer under the street. There was a man standing “waste” deep in a thick, greenish brown fluid that had clogged and filled the large sewer pipe. At that moment I remember thinking: “This has to be the worse job—ever.” I was wrong. It was the second worse job. The “worse job” goes to his companion who popped up at his side from under the sludge. He first appeared as a greenish-brown ghoul, but as the thick substance dripped slowly from his uniform, he took on a more human form. Evidently he had held his breath and made himself into a human “Roto-Rooter” to unclog the sewer with his bare hands. Worse job ever!
Now that it’s Halloween, I’ve been thinking about what would be the “scariest” job ever. I know most people might think it would be something like “Lion Tamer” or “Alaskan Crab Fisherman” or “Communications Tower Climber.” However, in my opinion, one of the scariest jobs ever is White House Press Secretary. It is a scary job just in-and-of itself because you are the target of a room full of reporters who want to make a name for themselves at your expense. However, the job of Press Secretary is made even scarier when your president spends time on local radio stations, sports programs and entertainment networks but refuses to take questions from his own press corps. This kind of action (or inaction) can cause the White House Press Core to take out their frustrations with the president on the president’s mouthpiece—the White House Press Secretary. And that can get really scary when the Press breaks rank and starts asking tough questions. And by “tough questions” I mean the types of questions that all good journalists used to ask. Really scary questions like this:
- What is the capital of Israel?
- Why did the president order the killing of a U.S. citizen without due process?
- Why has the congress not passed a budget in almost three years when both the executive and legislative branches were controlled by Democrats for most of that time?
- Why will the “most transparent president” not release many of the same documents that other presidents have released (such as college records)?
- Why did the President say that his health care law passed with a strong majority when, in reality, it just barely made it through congress at all?
- How can the President make speeches about his “plan” but has yet to actually present a plan on paper?
Since the famous (infamous) Benghazi briefings the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, has appeared in only a few televised press conferences—so his job has become much less scary. As it stands now, the White House Press Corps has seen very little of both the president and the president’s mouthpiece. So now even fewer questions are being asked and fewer answers given. It’s a shame. It was a treat to finally see some tough questions being asked, even if the answers involved some tricky Carney-val dancing around the obvious but embarrassing truth of the matter. But I do think it is good to give the White House Press Secretary a break… so he can come up for air.