My first reaction to reading that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs might replace David Axelrod as chief presidential strategist was that it was an insane idea. But then I began to examine why I felt that way. And I realized that between l’affaires Lewinsky and Plame (including the whole WMD/invasion issue) that it’s been eons since a press secretary was able to maintain their credibility. It’s become normal for the job to just chew up and destroy whomever holds the position. But, it isn’t really a necessary phenomenon. If the president doesn’t send his press secretary out to lie to the American people, then they can do the job without becoming a pariah like Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Mike McCurry, or Joe Lockhart.
I think you have to go back to Marlin Fitzwater to find a press secretary who left the position with a shred of their dignity intact. But Robert Gibbs has nothing to be ashamed about. He may not be the smoothest operator, but he’s been pretty straight with the press and the people. And he could get a promotion without it seeming like some kind of cruel Bushian joke.