Put Down Your Phone ... On Second Thought, Go Right Ahead
I love unattributed quotes from the Obama Administration, primarily because the trend over the past few years seems to indicate that there's some fairly high-placed source in the White House who can't resist drunk dialing the press. Perhaps there's an uncorked bottle of Chablis under Valeria Jarret's desk at all times. Maybe Jay Carney's constantly got a flask on him (be honest ... wouldn't you?). Or maybe Joe Biden just has the Secret Service doing Costco runs for Red Bull (the juice boxes just don't get him there anymore).
Whatever the case, this Administration has a gift for handing the press the worst possible characterization of their actions. Remember, it was an unattributed source who gave us "leading from behind" as the rallying cry for Libya. Ditto the recent declaration that the Administration's response to Syria would be "just muscular enough to not get mocked." (Step 1: Set bar incredibly low, Step 2: trip over it). Now, in today's Wall Street Journal, yet another verbal kamikaze is in the cockpit:
Said a senior administration official: "We are winning...It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown lasts "because what matters is the end result."
If you characterize the shutdown as a disaster in the making and then publicly declare that you're willing to ride it out as long as necessary to maximize your political advantage, there's only two possible interpretations: (1) you were lying about the severity of the situation in the first place or (2) you're happy to let the country suffer as long as it allows you to put points on the board.
Someone in the White House is going to spend today desperately trying to conceal a hangover.