Actually, if might be more than one more thing.
In the comments thread of the post about his departure yesterday, commenter “Lizzy” wrote of the press secretary position:
Yes, it’s an awful job, but imagine how much harder it would have been if Carney worked for a Republican president? Hard to pity Carney or Earnest.
My response is that yes, but it all depends which you consider more awful. Personally, I’d rather be serving a Republican president and be questioned by a hostile liberal press than to have to lie through my teeth over and over in public as Carney did. But I agree that both situations are bad.
However, (and I may be imagining this, because of his choirboy looks) I always thought I saw a tiny smidgeon (and I mean teeny-tiny) of shame and/or suffering behind Carney’s eyes when he was standing on the podium as press secretary. Unlike the more pugnacious Gibbs, he never seemed to me to be enjoying the actual performance of his job, although he no doubt enjoyed the manifold perks.
I’m not saying his conscience tortured him. But something seemed not right to me. Of course, he should never have taken the job in the first place, or at the very least have quit much earlier. But early in his tenure I found the following video from 2006, which I featured in a previous post but which I may as well repeat here:
As I wrote in that earlier post:
Carney is caught in a terrible dilemma, unless he is completely amoral (which I don’t think he is, but I certainly could be wrong about that). He either has to lie for the president, day after day, in the most public and embarrassing way possible, or he must publicly break away and become a traitor to his fellows, shunned and despised, and off the guest list at the best parties.
It may sound as though I’m making light of this, but I’m not. How many people have that sort of courage? How many would instead find themselves compromising bit by bit, until they find in the end that they have become something they once would have hated and despised? I don’t know the numbers, but I believe that last group is not small.
I think Carney finally couldn’t take it anymore, in the personal sense. But I think he will never publicly renounce or disown what he did (au contraire), and I believe that he remains strongly dedicated to the liberal and the Obama cause.