There was a time when I would catch a televised daily briefing by Tony Snow, because I wanted to see how the replacement for Scott McClellan was able to improve on the former press secretary's excruciating performance.
That didn't last very long.
You see, Mr. Snow is far worse.
Snow piled high
Where once we just had a figurehead who could parrot talking points, but not speak out of the box, now we have a man who is very creatively mean-spirited, arrogant and uninformative.
I had taken a sabbatical from reading Dan Froomkin's White House Watch in the Washington Post. I am glad I checked out his column on Tony Snow today.
"Snow's glib, confrontational approach to reporters -- rarely giving straight answers to even the simplest and most legitimate questions -- has made him a hero to Bush partisans and a darling of the right-wing media.Any doubts about the man's slanting and spinning are dispelled when Froomkin refers to his campaigning for the GOP and possibly running for office himself. How can this man claim any credibility?
"But it's becoming increasingly clear that the fears that some journalists had when Snow first came to the job from Fox News last May have been realized.
"Not surprisingly, considering his background, Snow seems to treat his encounters with the press more like a cable show than as an opportunity to provide the public with a fuller picture of what's going on inside the White House. His prime goal seems to be to "win the half hour" -- which generally entails out-talking and mocking your opponent, rather than mustering facts and actually staking out a persuasive position."
As to his demeanor, and Snow's ability to factually represent the Bush administration's policies, Froomkin sticks in the dagger:
"From his very first formal briefing, on May 16, Snow has often put his foot in it. (At that one, he said his reaction to the 2,500th American death in Iraq was that 'it's a number' and he used a phrase -- 'tar baby' -- that some consider racist.)If the snowshoe fits
"And he is frequently combative. As I described in my June 16 column, Snow often demands that reporters define the terms that he himself has just used.
"Sometimes, he picks fights over obvious facts. Case in point, at Wednesday's press briefing, he was asked about testimony from Bush's new spy chief that Osama bin Laden is alive in Pakistan and reestablishing training camps. Snow responded by suggesting that bin Laden might not really be the leader of al Qaeda."
As far as I am concerned, Tony Snow is the perfect man for the job. He seems to have the intellectual capacity of George Bush and the bedside manner of Dick Cheney.
In other words, Bushco has, as its mouthpiece, the man they truly deserve.
Now let's see if the White House Press Corps grows a set and starts poking through the press secretary's marshmallow veneer and come up with a little substance.
I won't hold my breath.
Dan Froomkin's entire column can be accessed here.