'The Mooch' for White House press secretary
Poor Sarah Sanders. After three years, one of the only genuinely decent people in the history of the Trump administration and one of the few remaining original members of the White House staff, is leaving. Sanders cried when she resigned on Thursday and called her tenure as press secretary "the opportunity of a lifetime." Can you imagine Robert Gibbs crying about anything?
Who is going to replace her? One of the first rules is that it cannot be someone who is nice. This immediately rules out my first choice for the job, Diamond and Silk, who seem like very nice ladies. Their appointment would, I imagine, present other problems as well, not the least of which would be figuring out which one of them would field a given question. Transcribing tag-team responses would make the always tiresome business of the daily press briefing even more complicated. Then there is the issue of honesty. Whereas both of them seem like born truth tellers, the job of the White House press secretary is to tell lies on behalf of the president.
For that reason and many more, the best candidate would be Anthony Scaramucci. All of us remember his lunatic turn as the White House communications director in 2017, which lasted only slightly longer than game three of last year's World Series. Sean Spicer, America's foremost soccer dad, resigned almost immediately rather than serve under the founder of SkyBridge Capital. Mooch talked like a David Mamet character. He promised to "fucking kill all the leakers." He left a voicemail on the phone of journalist Ryan Lizza that could be charitably described as psychotic. His wife left him. After two weeks, John Kelly — remember that guy? — became the new chief of staff and Mooch was canned.
What happened next is actually rather touching. Mr. and Mrs. Mooch patched things up a few months later. The former founded a briefly lived periodical called The Scaramucci Post and then returned to his work in the private sector. Now he and his wife host a podcast where they discuss the difficult question of how to disagree about politics without being disagreeable and offer relationship advice.
So why do I think Mooch should make a comeback? The first reason is simply that there is not very much talent on the Trump depth chart anymore. Hogan Gidley, Sanders' own deputy, is so obscure that, after seeing him appear on television last year, Trump did not even know how to contact the man. Kellyanne Conway probably has the right stuff, but I suspect that she will be leaving her current job before very long, not because of the spurious memo released recently by the Office of Special Counsel but because she belongs on the 2020 campaign team. Who else is there? If I were Laura Ingraham I would not leave my Fox News gig to do essentially the same job for far less money.
But let's not kid ourselves. Mooch belongs back behind the podium in the White House briefing room for the not-so-complicated reason that it would be hilarious. The next year and a half are going to be mind-numbingly tedious. From now until next August a high-school football team-sized Democratic field will debate whether fixing the roads is socialism. Will Beto get more than 2 percent in Iowa? Will Jay Inslee's climate change plan cost eleventy bazillion dollars or only eleventy trillion? Will Trump make insinuations about the condition and extent of Joe Biden's genitals? If the idea of taking these and thousands of other questions seriously feels you with unholy dread, you need the Mooch in your life.
Just because he has learned how to be nice to his wife does not mean the Mooch has gone soft. If anything his ability to control his temper might make him more effective on the job. Imagine a kinder, gentler, sweeter Scaramucci politely explaining in the most reasonable PG language that Jim Acosta is a moron. This is the best possible scenario. The worst is that Mooch blows up again in spectacular fashion and gets C-SPAN pulled off the air for obscenity, giving the administration no choice but to appoint 80-year-old Pat Buchanan in his place. Either way, it won't be boring.