May 18, 2022

I don’t think it’s fair to judge people too harshly during their first day on the job. On the other hand, with some jobs, you need to be really prepared before you start. You don’t want to hear your surgeon say, “Sorry if my hands are a little shaky, it’s my first day.”

White House Press Secretary is one of those jobs where you need to be ready to answer questions on your first day, or you might end up with a nickname like the one Jen Psaki earned for repeatedly saying she’d have to “circle back” to that question (and then never coming back to it.) On her first day, new Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was brought up short by Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who asked if she could explain a tweet from President Biden that made no sense (his claim that to bring down inflation, we need to make corporations pay more taxes.)

Doocy kept repeatedly asking how making companies pay more taxes could lower prices, but all she could come up with was some boilerplate about how they’re working on inflation every day, the rich must pay their fair share, climate change, and yada-yada-yada (a lot of DNC talking points that had nothing to do with the question.) It made her look unprepared and not up to the job.

But I’m going to defend her. It was not only her first day, but she was being asked to do the impossible: provide a rational explanation for a Joe Biden economic policy. That’s like asking someone to explain how cows can fly when clearly, only a crazy man would think they can. The problem is, explaining impossibly false things is now her job. I’m sure that, like Jen Psaki, she’ll eventually get good enough at it to land a job at MSNBC.