Column: This story is developing


McZENA — Very good news from the front.

This story is developing.

This I just got from consulting one source of news — the internet.

It seems things haven’t been going swimmingly for Sean Spicer, now late of the White House.

He resigned Friday because he objects to the appointment of one Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

It seems Spicer, formerly with the Republican National Committee, thought he should be in line for that post.

Oh, the long knives of national politics.

I unfortunately know a little about that, because of my tenure on Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.) and working in a Presidential campaign.

It’s not a good idea to offend anyone if you want to get ahead in politics.

I worked as a Capitol Hill press secretary for two people — a Republican congressman, and Presidential candidate John Glenn.

To say that you have to tread softly when walking through the national seats of power is putting it mildly.

Tom Railsback (R., Illinois) had an office in the Rayburn House Office Building. As a staffer you had access to all things seductive — an almost no cost gift shop, the underground railway to the Capitol, and the perk of not having to have Social Security withdrawn.

Working for John Glenn was a bit more elevated.

He was in the Hart Senate Office Building. But he was a humble man, even for all his earned glory as an astronaut.

He could be seen outside the Senate office building, sitting in his car and laughing at something someone had given him.

His campaign put him into a rarefied stratosphere, though.

If you thought you were somebody in Washington, you wanted to work in a political campaign.

If you knew something, well, that was okay too.

But what you know didn’t matter nearly as much as having names of persons with whom you were connected.

I learned early on in the Glenn campaign that the people who really wanted to get to the top were people who described themselves as fundraisers.

Our campaign had a number of well-heeled, connected rainmakers — the variety that could make money fall from the sky.

We would have fundraisers all over the country. But it seemed the fundraisers cared more about who they could say they had snared than about what their candidate stood for.

Being a junkie for news, I watch press conferences avidly.

I have noticed a certain stance of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal White House deputy press secretary.

She has a look in her eye.

She is astoundingly tough, for to beat back the onslaught of questions from news people can be traumatic.

You can learn the proper things to say as a press secretary. Like when you say you can’t confirm or deny something.

Or, I haven’t discussed that with the politician. That can unfortunately be an admission you are not as close to the politician as you’d like.

When I was working for John Glenn I had naive thoughts of working someday in the White House myself.

The truth is certain staffers of the senator had ideas that had nothing to do with his winning election.

It is a good thing Glenn didn’t go any further than he did. He got knocked off because he didn’t do well enough in the Iowa caucuses, and the following New Hampshire primaries. Organization in his ground staff was not there.

In Iowa you have to do politics frequently and personally.

Everyone in Iowa wants to say they know you, have met you.

Presidential political fame was not to happen for John Glenn.

He was incapable of frontally combating with someone, so he could end up holding all the cards.

Now, we will have to wait and see how Sarah Huckabee Sanders fares.

She has the grit.

But is she capable of handling the long knives?

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McZENA MUSE

Louise Swartzwalder

 

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