Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Snow Business Like Snow Business

Andrew Sullivan points to George Stephanopolous' generally positive take on the White House's hiring of Tony Snow but adds a cautionary note:

What Bush has -- typically -- done is get a spokesman, who doesn't set policy, to appeal to alienated conservatives. It is literal window-dressing. Unless, of course, more is going on than meets the eye. Here's hoping that's true.
Is there more going on than meets the eye? Good question. At this point, one wonders whether even Snow knows. On the one hand, as far as can be determined (so far), Josh Bolten doesn't seem to have the devious sensibilty to just hire Snow for "show." However, Brit Hume asked Snow in an "exclusive" Fox News interview if he would have a policy role in addition to being spokesman.

Snow responded rather hesitantly that that would circumstance would work itself out "in time."


Well, Tony, if it hasn't been written in stone by the time you've been announced, it's ain't likely to happen.

Snow has enough smarts to handle a combined policy-communications role, but if the White House going forward is as closed-in as it has been heretofore, nothing is going to change.

Before taking the job, Snow should have (perhaps he did) spoken to Mike McCurry, who demanded in 1995 that he would be in the room when policy decisiions were being made (his predecessor, Dede Myers, famously, was not). The fact is that Clinton's press coverage -- in terms of substance, not scandal -- improved with McCurry. But that was because he knew enough about the policy that he felt comfortable with what he could and could not share with the press (and the public). As would Snow.

McClellan was so ineffective because it was blatantly clear that -- even in comparison to Ari Fleischer -- he wasn't "in the loop" when it came to what was going on in the White House -- either on policy or politics (
hello, Patrick Fitzgerald!) . Ultimately, Tony Snow will be as effective as the White House (Bolten, Rove, et. al.) allow him to be.

UPDATE (Thursday, Noon): Sorry about the weirdly truncated post that was up for about 12 hours, folks. I did an update last night from my PDA at about the same time there was a outage. Somehow most of the last paragraph just got eliminated. I wish I could remember exactly what great words of wisdom were there. Take my word for it -- I solved all off the White House's problems in about 150 words. Alas, after little sleep last night -- I've forgotten all the golden advice. I assumed it was still on the site until I looked at it this morning. AAARGH, damn you to heck, Blogger demons!!! You blew it up! You maniacs! You blew it up!!

Anyway, I recreated what I could. Normally, I would have checked in on the site over night (if nothing else, to see if Bill Barker had finished writing the Third Testament in the Comments section). But, of course, I was busy trying to get my cable broadband to work on two computers!!! On that score, I ended up batting only 50-50. Damn you to heck, Dell Inspiron (and Cablevision too, while we're at it)!

Gotta love that technology...

Oh well, I shouldn't complain too much. After a little more than a year doing this, this is actually the first real Blogger meltdown (visible on the site) I've had. Let us count our small blessings.

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