How Sean Spicer Wins by Losing

In a conventional administration, Spicer would have been shredded by now and recycled to the American Beverage Association to serve as its spokesman.

.. It’s the job of every presidential press secretary to finesse the misstatements and gaffes made by the boss. But no podium-pounder in recent memory has been asked to do what Spicer has been asked to do—apply a gloss to baseless conspiracy theories that have already been debunked—and retail it to reporters.

.. Reporters are onto the Spicer gambit already, none more so than NPR’s Mara Liasson. On Monday, she slyly asked him to name the unemployment rate, a frequent subject of Trump’s trutherism. On Tuesday, she again toyed with Spicer when she asked in a slightly exaggerated manner whether Trump’s allegation of massive voter fraud by 3 million to 5 million people doesn’t necessitate an investigation. “Maybe we will,” Spicer said, before drifting off into a free-associationland comment

.. How did the Generals win by losing? For one thing, nobody expected them to win. Their defeat was integral to the greater game plan, part of their service to a higher power, specifically the Globetrotters.

.. Nobody who understands Trump expects Spicer to beat the press in the briefing room as he defends his boss’ latest nutbag idea, only to keep the ball in plausible play until time is called and the cameras dim. Like the Generals, Spicer must put up a fight that’s good enough to deflect attention from the president