April 26, 2006

The sleek new press secretary.

So what do you think of Tony Snow as the new White House press secretary? He's got a nice polished look and demeanor. That's got to help.

I like this:
In a November column, posted on Townhall.com, Mr. Snow wrote of Mr. Bush: "His wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson. The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."

In a March column, Mr. Snow wrote, "A Republican president and a Republican Congress have lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc." And he derided the new prescription drug benefit that Mr. Bush signed into law.

As press secretary, Mr. Snow would probably have to defend just such a program.

When asked about Mr. Snow's more critical comments, the administration official said, "What better way to pop the bubble that people think there is here."

At least it's something new.

54 comments:

Bruce Hayden said...

Love the guy, and think he will do a good job. But I really would have preferred if he had remained one of the few news people right of center. I worry that this may make it hard for him to return to news, though there are a lot on the left who have done so.

Seven Machos said...

I'm just glad the other guy is gone.

MadisonMan said...

I worry that this may make it hard for him to return to news, though there are a lot on the left who have done so.

I confess this is not something I keep track of, but I can't think of any names that go from the executive branch back to news reporting, on any end of the political spectrum. Can you list some?

David said...

Tony Snow is a fine choice. Part of his deal, which included a big pay cut, is his participation and input in policy. This is especially important since he will be explaining, presumably the pros and cons, of administration policy.

I believe he is infinitely smarter than most of the fair weather reporters who haunt the White House Press briefings. I particularly look forward to his handling of Mrs. Jabba the Hut, Helen Thomas.

Nice to see a man of integrity and experience in a postion usually reserved for friends and political hacks.

Danny said...

MadisonMan: George Stephanopoulos and Bill Moyers also fit the bill.

PatCA said...

I also love him and hope the press corps does not destroy him. With his experience though I think he's up to the challenge. If he will have input into policy, that's a huge new change in the job and one that perhaps was long overdue. After all, he's doing the talking and the arguing that the president should be doing, so why not?

SteveR said...

The fact that as a reporter/columnist/talk show host he was critical, indicates he was doing his job. Now its different but I think he's a politically passionate person and will likely have some say in how things are framed by the White House, not just a spokesman.

I know they aren't news reporters but we've seen enough Carville and Begala to last a lifetime. Diane Sawyer worked in the Nixon Admin.

Brian Williams worked for Carter.

jeff said...

I predict that we're going to get a lot more positive PR and explanations out of the White House now.

If only the MSM will actually use any of it...

It was amazing how much editorializing (and recitation of all the numbers) was added to a simple report on last night's news of a local soldier who was killed by an IED.

sonicfrog said...

Good choice. It seems like the first personnel decision that has made sense since Harriet Myers. I know that's not the case, but it just seems like it.

Patrick Martin said...

Tim Russert and William Safire also come to mind as executive branchers moving to the media.

My recollection (often limited) suggests that this is the highest-profile journalist to move into the Press Secretary job, though.

MadisonMan said...

Thanks to all for the reminders re: Executive back to journalism.

Jacques Cuze said...

I don't think this Administration could have found a spokeman more in tuned with their needs and more able to produce to their expectations.

Good choice!

AJ Lynch said...

Snow = excellent choice. Quick, smart ann pleasing personality.

downtownlad said...

So this is the big shakeup. A new press secretary? Woo-hoo.

I'm sure there will be scores of books written on this appointment. Not.

downtownlad said...

It's quite obvious from this appointment, that the Bush Administration thinks that the 32% approval rating is solely due to people not getting the message. Change the messenger and all will get better.

No press secretary is going to be able to change the public's mind that the Iraq War is stumbling badly, that gas is over $3 a barrel, that the deficit is climbing dramatically, that the religious right has veto power over all Bush decisions, etc.

Bush is an ideologue. He is not going to do an about-face any major policy issue. And that will turn out to be his downfall. He's too stubborn to admit he may have made a mistake.

Tom said...

Another government flack to the media guy: Pete Williams of NBC NEws. He was Cheney's press spokesman in the Pentagon during the first Bush administration

SteveR said...

DTL: Gas was over $3 a barrel (6 cents a gallon)a long time ago.

I don't think anyone expects this alone to change things but they are other changes as well and if Bush vetos the pork bill $92B we'll know he's shifted some.

Jacques Cuze said...

Don't forget James Gannon/Guckert

downtownlad said...

Congress will change the bill to $89 billion, Bush will declare victory - and he will sign it.

You heard it here first. Why do you really think he cares about spending? He made the same threats about the highway bill and he still signed that.

Actions speak louder than words.

Bissage said...

Pat Buchanan? Peggy Noonan?

Do speechwriters count?

dick said...

How about Pierre Salinger? david Gergen?

DB said...

Snow was a speechwriter for Bush 41 I believe.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Tony Snow plays flute and sax in rock bands and was a philosophy major. Plus, hubba-hubba, not too hard on the eyes.

What's not to love?

Nathan said...

Re: Buchanan and Noonan

Seems to me there's a significant difference between going into journalism as an opinion columnist versus as an ostensibly objective journalist/host/anchorman (Stephanopoulos, Russert, Williams).

Wurly said...

Yes, but the important question is whether Snow's has a dominant or submissive face.

lohwoman said...

Ron Nessen, an NBC correspondent, was press secretary for Gerald Ford.

KnightErrant said...

The messenger is less important than the message. This appointment is trivial.

Seven Machos said...

I remember when Bill Clinton's approval numbers were in the tank. He totally changed his entire policy program, cutting taxes, opposing NAFTA, radically changing his stance on welfare, and vastly rethinking his foreign policy goals.

Oh wait. No, he didn't. He just got busy in a bathroom with a 23-year-old. Never mind. Carry on, Lefties.

Jennifer said...

Wurley, if you're wife was ovulating, you would know.

Bissage said...

Right you are, Nathan.

Ultimate_Lawyer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brendan said...

From The Times of London:

Tony Snow, a right-wing Fox News commentator, has been appointed White House spokesman today. (emphasis added)

They don't have a clue, do they?

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

Tony Snow, a right-wing Fox News commentator, has been appointed White House spokesman today. (emphasis added)

They don't have a clue, do they?


In fairness, it's more accurate than calling him left-wing, if they're going to comment on his wingedness.

I'm tired of my typos. So I changed this one

downtownlad said...

I remember when Bill Clinton's approval numbers were in the tank. He totally changed his entire policy program, cutting taxes, opposing NAFTA, radically changing his stance on welfare, and vastly rethinking his foreign policy goals.

Oh wait. No, he didn't. He just got busy in a bathroom with a 23-year-old. Never mind. Carry on, Lefties.
- Seven

Actually, when his numbers were in the tank - he DID change direction. He brought in David Gergin to be his chief of Staff, a REPUBLICAN.

He ditched health care reform. He signed the welfare reform bill. He kept spending down. He moved aggressively towards the center, as opposed to his first two years which were quite liberal.

And his approval rating went up.

Ann Althouse said...

DTL makes good points. Clinton specialized in "triangulating," remember? Bush has an utterly different style. He just keeps doing the same thing and trusts that people will eventually respect his choices. He doesn't have the same hunger for approval that Clinton had. He has his convictions. And we reelected him for that. We specifically rejected a candidate who kept shifting according to the political winds. Bush is now delivering what we voted for. Expecting him to adapt to the changing political will as measured in polls is to ask him to act the way Kerry seemed as though he would act. Kerry lost. We are getting exactly what we voted for. Deal with it.

David said...

Oh Owwww!
I love it when Ann talks tough!

knoxgirl said...

Yeah, I have to admit I always wonder why liberals lurve Clinton so much. He totally betrayed them for poll numbers.

Brando said...

He just keeps doing the same thing and trusts that people will eventually respect his choices.

The American people trustedthat Bush but was honest and tell us the truth. That trust has been broken. No amount of "staying the course" is going to garner any respect from anyone, least of all the American Public.

And what are you going to say when Bush's approval ratings dip into the 20% range: that this even further demonstrates that Bush is a strong leader. You're living in a pipedream, Althouse, likely the same pipedream Bush himself is living in. You can blabber about all the Kerry flip-flop bullshit, but that does not obviate the fact that Bush is a failure, and will go down as a scourge in American history. The loser in the last election was not Kerry, but the American People.

Brando said...

By the way, Althouse, you have children. Do you berate them and call them a "flip-flopper" when they discover a course of action is not working and failing to produce the desired result. Do you say "It doesn't make any different if you are failing algebra, you just stay the course and keep doing what you're doing and you'll succeed." No. Being flexible and being capable of changing your behavior is a sign of maturity. Being stubborn and obstinate is not.

AJ Lynch said...

How about this for a media guy to govt. flack:

Brian Doyle (25 years at Time Magazine) then on to Homeland Security until he was caught with porn or trying to meet minors on his internet account. Perhaps, he will now have to return to the MSM?

SteveR said...

Gee Brando try reading her comment (again I assume). Then try understanding what see wrote. Because what you are saying is not that close to addressing what she said, although you probably felt good when you posted it.

Jacques Cuze said...

Bush is now delivering what we voted for.

So you're the one that voted for gutting social security, widening the trade gap, keeping the stock market flat, keeping employment low, doing nothing about global warming, gutting civil liberties, outing CIA spies, wiretapping Americans, gutting habeas, destroying FEMA, encouraging cronyism, encouraging the politics of corruption Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff style.

Bush was reelected (elected actually) by the smallest margin of victory since 1828, and from there he claimed he had political capital and a mandate.

Bush is now down to 32% job approval rating, so I am not sure your fellow Bush electors agree that now we should have to deal with it.

I think many would like a mulligan on their vote, but I congratulate you for your consistency in the face of the facts.

Finn Kristiansen said...

I think Tony Snow is an excellent choice and if, as David suggested (at top of page), he is able to be fully engaged in policy discussions, all the better.

There are of course some underlying adjustments that need to be made in terms of actual policy, but I think Snow will be able to nudge the administration into better highlighting those things that are going right (whether in Iraq or elsewhere).

And he can look pleasant while whipping you with his brain.

Jacques Cuze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Palladian said...

Someone kick the quxxo, it's obviously stuck.

Geez.

downtownlad said...

Bush's biggest flip-flop is that he said he would be a uniter, not a divider.

History will not judge him well.

Reagan was smart enough to bring in a new team after Iran-Contra. And he did so without changing his convictions.

Bush thinks he is doing the same, but all he is doing is having people swap jobs, bringing in a new press secretary (who really cares) and maybe he'll get rid of the Treasury Secretary. But he'll just replace John Snow with another meaningless pick. Think of how powerful the Treasury Secretary used to be. Now it's a nobody position.

Ann says that Bush doesn't care about his low approval ratings. But he obviously does care, because he's trying to make some changes. He's just making dumb ones that's all.

I don't mind Tony Snow as the Press Secretary. But can we please have some changes of actual consequence please. If not, why bother with these minor changes.

nedludd said...

Bush was reelected (elected actually) by the smallest margin of victory since 1828,

As opposed to Clinton, who never got a majority, no matter how small.

Bush was able to do what the Dems have only been able to do twice in the 15 postwar elcetion cycles, get elected with a majority.

The other thing people need to remember when talking about his approval numbers is people like me. I disapprove of him, but probaly for different reasons than DTL or quxxo. I don't like the Medicare Drug Bene, and I am pissed he seems to have abandoned Soc Sec reform. I want the tax cuts made permanent and I want more focus on stopping illegal immigratin. Am I happy with Bush? No. Think I'm voting Dem in November? Not until grownups take the party back from the Kos kids. Look behind the numbers and they can show you differnt things than the headlines.

vbspurs said...

No. Being flexible and being capable of changing your behavior is a sign of maturity. Being stubborn and obstinate is not.

This reminds me of how certain people spin people, based on whether they like them or not.

A person can be obstinate, or steadfast.

Dilatory or thorough.

Majestic or aloof.

Joe DiMaggio, the darling of the NY press at the time, was as tart and stuck-up, as Ted Williams was alleged to be.

But one was imbued with an unbelievable elegance, whereas the other guy, was a distant jerk.

Fortunately, most people are aware of these little by-plays.

Cheers,
Victoria

Seven Machos said...

I stand partially corrected. David Gergen was a Republican in the same way that Olympia Snowe is.

I think you are selling Bush short to say that he hasn't/won't change. He has "ditched" Social Security reform the same way Clinton "ditched" healthcare. Hasn't Bush changed A LOT on foreign policy? He originally campaigned as far more of an isolationist ("not the world's policeman"). What about immigration and spending? Will he now change?

One of the great problems in American politics today is that each side sees the other side as monolithic and inflexible.

dklittl said...

Seven machos,

I would say that we are selling Bush just about right. Bush hasn't dropped Social Security in as much as he has just stopped talking about it. He was quoted, I want to say about February saying that once the country was ready that he'd bring it up again. Which just highlights that he cares just as much about the polls as anybody, he just stubbornly refuses to change his perspective over just about anything at any time.

And it's not that Democrats see Republicans as so inflexible, it's that we see Bush as inflexible which even his own staff and half his party agrees. The guy has to be dragged kicking and screaming to change. For christ's sake the guy's approval is in the mid-low 30's and I still think that he believes that its just the MSM-MSM-MSM'S (I like to have 3MSM's for emphasis) fault. People don't like where he's leading the country and don't like his policies. So try to lead and find better policies.

Coco said...

Snow certainly has much better hair than his predecessor which, given his job (both old and new) is a key asset. I expect great things :)

Paco Wové said...

"Bush is an ideologue. He is not going to do an about-face any major policy issue. And that will turn out to be his downfall."

It's true. He'll never be elected President again!

Abraham said...

People don't like where he's leading the country and don't like his policies.

On the other hand, if you're the leader, and 40% of the people don't like something because it's too much, and 40% don't like it because it's too little, that only leaves you with 10% support. Obvious evidence that your position is "outside the mainstream?"