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Student Writing Spotlight

a spokesman on Capitol Hill for a U.S.

slogan of 2008, “Barack Obama was

can be a test of character. He can either

representative. Comfortable with taking

someone I could really believe in. Faced

follow up with the reporter and sternly

risks and seizing an opportunity, he moved

with a large number of options, I decided

point out potential misconceptions in

to Iowa in 2006 to be the communications

to go with my heart.” He took the job as

the article, or choose to respond in a

director for the Presidential campaign of

Obama’s Communications Director in

manner that keeps the conversation

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Like Earnest’s

the Iowa caucus campaign­—a bet that

amiable between White House staff and

role as an athlete, Vilsack was solid, though

paid off as Obama upset Clinton and won

the media. For normal citizens with

not a frontrunner. He dropped out of the

the state. This ultimately sent Earnest

no grasp of the reality of the political

race for lack of public support. Earnest’s risk, though, paid off. He put himself in the right place at the right

on his path to the White House with

sphere, TV shows like House of Cards or

his candidate, landing him in the White

Scandal often frame the conception of

House Press Secretary’s office.

Washington, D.C.’s corrupt politicians

Being able to navigate the

In this picture: This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of the B-Line student newspaper.

path of politics requires constant

record straight. “Those two shows are

readjustment in the ever-changing

very much fictionalized accounts.” The

political landscape of the U.S., a

dark nature of House of Cards is a signifi-

skill he attributes to Barstow. “A

cant departure from his own experience.

Barstow education had taught me

He admits that politics, while occasion-

to expose myself to new argu-

ally frustrating and dysfunctional, gives

ments and experiences,” Earnest

him an opportunity to “influence the

said. He recalls that he was “chal-

public debate and advocate for the kinds

lenged as a high schooler to learn

of values and priorities that I think are

how to think and evaluate ideas

critical to this country.” As White House

and how to be challenged to stay

press secretary, he is “thankful to play

up to the intellectual perspectives

this unique role in shaping the debate

of somebody else.” By the time he

and making those arguments.” American

got to Rice, Josh felt he had a leg

politics form a complex web of connec-

up over his classmates because of

tions to make and jobs to fulfill, and Josh

the importance of knowing how

plays his part each day by talking with

to make a strong argument. Surprisingly, perhaps the most


and scandalous events. Earnest sets the

time. With his connection to the current

influential moment of Josh’s time at

Iowa governor during the Iowa caucuses,

Barstow took place not in a classroom,

the press and answering questions in the White House Press Briefing Room. In addition to sports and singing, Earnest served as Honor Council

Earnest was offered jobs by presidential

but on the baseball diamond. He

president and was a member of the

candidates Sen. Barack Obama, Sen.

vividly recalls missing a ground ball in

French club, Waystoids (otherwise

Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Edwards.

the infield. Instead of dwelling over the

known as the ’90s version of Earth Club)

He had a tough choice between multiple

mistake for the remainder of the game,

and Kariessentes.

opportunities. John Edwards was most

he had to move on and focus on the

likely to win Iowa, and Hillary Clinton

next batter. This seemingly insignificant

Barstow green and his roots as a

was ahead in the national polls. But he

experience steeled him for the inevitable

as he demonstrated on March 17, 2015

took a risk and went with his heart and

challenges of talking to an unpredictable

by starting his daily press briefing with a

basketball Knight still run in his blood,

the candidate that resonated with his

and sometimes judgmental press on a

shout out to the Knights state basketball

view of the American dream – Sen. Barack

daily basis. “Dealing with reporters who

title. “I’m wearing my green today not

Obama. Earnest credits Obama’s inspired

write stories about the White House

just to pay tribute to St. Patrick, but also

view of American politics. In the end, true

that aren’t exactly the way that I would

to pay tribute to my alma mater back in

to the candidate’s presidential campaign

have written,” Josh diplomatically admits,

Kansas City.”


The Barstow School Magazine  

Fall 2015

The Barstow School Magazine  

Fall 2015