The State Department spokesperson has the task of defending the president’s foreign policy more often than any other government official. During President Barack Obama’s first term, that unenviable task fell to the opaque Victoria Nuland, whose redeeming feature was that there was a spine behind the smokescreen. (“F*** the E.U.,” she famously said, albeit in private, on Russia and the Ukraine.) Not so with successors Jen Psaki and Marie Harf, the clueless defending the hopeless.
Psaki came to the position after working as a spin doctor for the Obama campaign. Her most famous episode involved a brazen lie about Joe Soptic, a steelworker whose wife developed cancer and died after he was laid off from a company that had been bought by Bain Capital. Both the Obama campaign and Obama’s “super PAC” blamed Republican rival Mitt Romney for Soptic’s wife’s death. Psaki claimed, falsely, that the campaign had not known about the (false) super PAC ad.
It is not clear what qualifies Psaki for her current post, other than a distinguished record of hackery. But she brings a host of trite left-wing tropes to the job, including the idea that wars are not won by force, and the discredited idea that the root cause of terror is poverty. Earlier this month, appearing on Jake Tapper’s The Lead on CNN, Psaki downplayed the Obama’s weak response to ISIS by stating that while the military part was “sexiest,” other parts of the effort mattered more.
Her deputy, Marie Harf, told Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball on Monday night that “we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…”.
Obviously, the conviction that radical Islam has nothing to do with the terror begins at the top, but Psaki and Harf certainly play their disingenuous roles with conviction.
They are also both veterans of the hapless State Department campaign to use Twitter hashtags to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has thus far resulted in the annexation of the Crimea and the first major ground war in Europe since the end of World War II.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 26, 2014
The Obama administration has denied the Ukrainians much help except military rations, so the hashtag campaign amounted to adding insult to injury.
As symbols of haplessness, though, Psaki and Harf were perfect.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak