|Not Marie Harf's official photo (but, damn)|
Here's an example of why I miss her in the Spokesperson job, the September 17 daily press briefing in which the new Spokesman/person got this snarky question about our Syria program:
QUESTION: So, much has been covered. So let me ask you about the substance of the train and equip program [for Syrian rebels]. When it was launched, it aimed to train 15,000 people. Here we are months later, many months later, and you only have a handful of trained personnel. Would you say that this program has proven to be an abysmal failure and perhaps it is time to move on to something else?
QUESTION: Please use the words “abysmal failure” in your answer.
Marie would have hit that one out of the park. Oh, sure, the ex-Admiral who took her place competently defused the question by boring everybody with a long answer about the three original goals of the program, blah, blah, blah. But that's merely answering the question. Marie would have made news herself with that question, which is what I want to see in a Spokesperson.
By the way, the following day's New York Times article with a Washington dateline did indeed use the words "abysmal failure":
WASHINGTON — By any measure, President Obama’s effort to train a Syrian opposition army to fight the Islamic State on the ground has been an abysmal failure. The military acknowledged this week that just four or five American-trained fighters are actually fighting.
But the White House says it is not to blame. The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place — a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
You will perhaps not be surprised that the White House spokesman said President Obama is not to blame for President Obama's failed effort in Syria.
Here's a thought: if State isn't going to use Marie for press briefings anymore, can't it please lend her to the White House to raise the level of Spokespersonery over there?