Good for Helen Thomas. Before anyone could fire her, she quit.
As one of the newest members of the White House Press Corps, I’m sorry to see her go.
Not because I could defend her comments about all Jews going home to Poland. Not even Helen herself could defend that outburst. Robert Gibbs rightfully called her remarks “offensive and reprehensible.”
But, as irascible as she could be, Helen brought something to the briefing room two things that nobody else does.
Number one, more institutional memory and experience at covering presidents than anybody else. Started with John F. Kennedy. She was also the first woman member and officer of the National Press Club, the White House Correspondents Association, and the Gridiron Club.
Second: an abiding, and deep-seated skepticism about the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan – both of which have been almost forgotten today by the media. Occasionally, someone else might ask about progress in Afghanistan. Helen gets to the heart of the matter: She demands to know what we’re doing in Afghanistan in the first place.
And it’s that kind of hard-hitting, no-nonsense, even politically-incorrect questioning that every administration needs. Especially, I might add, when it comes to the Middle East and the military.
An honor to work alongside of you, Helen. I’ll miss you.
That’s my parting shot for today.