Jay Carney resigns

Just before Jay Carney began his daily White House press briefing session today, President Obama made an unusual appearance before the assembled reporters. The New York Daily News reports:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down, President Obama announced Friday in a surprise statement at the start of Carney's daily press briefing.

Carney, who said he planned to leave in mid-June, will be replaced by Josh Earnest, a deputy press secretary.

Obama praised Carney for his "good heart" and "temperament" as he dealt with the media since he replaced Robert Gibbs as the White House's chief spokesman in early 2011.

"I'm going to miss him a lot," Obama added.

Two thoughts occur to me in evaluating the move. One is that Carney has looked increasingly stressed as he was pressed daily to defend the indefensible, evade questions, and otherwise cover the president’s derriere. He holds a high-pressure job that has gotten more and more difficult as the taboos against criticizing or even looking closely at the failures of Obama have dissipated with time. I could easily picture acid eating away at his stomach as the stress mounted.

But the other thought is that Carney sees the Obama ship sinking, and is getting out when he can, before more damage is done to his already tattered reputation.

It’s been a tough week for Obama administration spokesmen and women, as the derisive laughter and mockery that greeted his State Department counterpart Jen Psaki yesterday indicates.

To be fair, I would have to add a third thought: It may be time for Carney to cash out. Now that he is established as a skillful evader of the truth and carries a White House title on his resume, there will be all sorts of companies and other organizations eager to hire him at a substantial wage. We know that it is long past time for him and his wife, ABC’s Claire Shipman, to redecorate their home and get rid of the student dormitory Soviet propaganda posters.

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