Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Snow Job

White House Spokesman Tony Snow, a.k.a. the fastest dancing man in show business, just held a press conference today on the U.S. Attorney purge.

CNN's Ed Henry had a couple terrific questions for him -- all ready for your viewing pleasure at Crooks & Liars -- but the best shot may have been this observation off camera:
I followed up a question about executive privilege. You heard Tony Snow at the end there saying the president has no recollection of being involved in this decision to fire the US attorneys. So we asked the question then, well why are you citing executive privilege -- or at least suggesting you will, and yesterday the president said the principle at stake here is candid advice from his advisers to the president -- if the president was not involved in the decision, then how can you cite executive privilege on something he was really not involved in? And Tony Snow basically said, it's a good question and I don't know the answer.
Yeah, it's pretty hard to invoke the doctrine of "executive privilege" to cloak a conversation and simultaneously insist that the chief executive wasn't involved in it. What an idiot.

As tough as Henry's been on him, Snow will also have to deal with this tough attack from yet another reporter:
Evidently, Mr. Bush wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Bush values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Bush will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold: the rule of law.
The reporter who laid down this scathing attack on executive privilege? None other than our boy Tony Snow.

In the original version, he was referring to President Clinton in insisting how invalid "executive privilege" was. However, that was way back in 1998. I know White House officials have incredibly poor memories, so I thought I'd make it a little more contemporary to help him get his walnut-sized brain around it.

You're welcome, Tony!


sideshow bob said...

I think Mr. Snow'll have to say Touche! on that point.

...or, as they call it in the White House, Freedom-stab!

Mike said...

"Executive Privilege." Which I assume relates to the Chief Executive and legitimate arms of the administration.

So . . . what's official post does Karl Rove hold?

norbizness said...

Judging from the picture, y'all have made Tony lose his mind, up in here, up in here.

Mr Furious said...

LOL! Good one, Bob!

Mr Furious said...

Q: Tony, how would a transcript make it a political spectacle? And what about a transcript would be not in keeping with amicable and --

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I think you've always got a temptation, somebody sort of waving a piece of paper -- let me reverse the question: Why would not an interview be conducive to getting at the facts?

Q: Well, because if, then, the facts were then discussed, then it would be one person's word against another and facts might get muddled.

That's right, the only reason not to have a transcript is to keep it from being used as a prop.

How does the press pool not just walk out of the room laughing?

S.W. Anderson said...

"So . . . what's official post does Karl Rove hold?"

White House deputy chief of staff, which is a sanitized cover title for director of dirty tricks and media manipulation.

The president just calls him Turd Blossom, getting it half right.

Mike said...

Deputy Chief of Staff

Isn't "deputy chief" an oxymoron? based on my (limited) understanding of Executive Privilege (we "studied" US v. Nixon in ConLaw in Law School), I see no reason at all that Karl Rove's testimony should be protected under the umbrella of Executive Privilege, even if the court finds that it protects the testimony of Bush and/or Miers.

If this goes all the way up, Kennedy will determine it.

Thrillhous said...

Supreme court opinion, Mike? But that would just create the temptation of waving around pieces of paper. And we can't have that.

Bob, love the "freedom stab" line. Consider it stolen!

S.W. Anderson said...

Mike the theory, which Bush & Co. are flogging big time, is that if the president's staffers fear being subpoenaed and questioned under oath, they'll be discouraged from being candid with their advice. A chilling effect, in other words.

For my 2 cents' worth, executive privilege should be shot down, except in matters directly and clearly concerned with national security.

Mike said...

Shot down, put down, whatever "down" you choose, I'm with you.

Anyhow, Rove's advice is purely "political" so I fail to see why it should be privileged in any way.

And, on that note, so much for this whining that the congressional subpoenas are "politically motivated."