Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bush Taps Snow As New Press Secretary

U.S. President George W. Bush (C) announces his new press secretary Tony Snow (L) in the briefing room of the White House in Washington April 26, 2006. Snow, a Fox News Radio host, replaced Scott McClellan (R) who announced his resignation last week as part of a staff shake-up engineered by new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten aimed at reviving Bush's presidency. REUTERS/Jim Young

I've been busy the last two days babysitting my four-year-old niece, so I haven't had a chance to look into the news stories. And it has been a busy two days. So here's the first posting, regarding the most talked-about selection of the new Bush White House press secretary Tony Snow. This is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Wednesday named conservative commentator Tony Snow as White House press secretary, putting a new face on a troubled administration.

Snow, a Fox news pundit and former speechwriter in the White House under Bush's father, replaced Scott McClellan who resigned in a personnel shuffle intended to re-energize the White House and lift the president's record-low approval ratings.

"My job is to make decisions and his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people," Bush said, with Snow and McClellan at his side in the White House briefing room.

I have to hand it to the Bush White House--they certainly know how to pre-package a non-existent news media story into a grandios strategy of reinventing the Bush White House team. The only problem here is that despite all this flash and glitter of Tony Snow becoming the new White House press secretary, the Bush administration will continue to pull a "snow job" on the American people.

Because that is all there is here--flash and glitter. The Bush administration will never change any of its political policies--either foreign or domestic. We're just getting another pretty package, and a stale message touting how "New and Improved" the Bush agenda is--coming from the mouth of a new press spokesman. Already the Bush White House is touting their "New and Improved" their press spokesman is. Consider this detail in the Yahoo News story:

Snow's appointment is notable in a White House that has a reputation for not suffering criticism. He has had some harsh things to say about Bush.

As a columnist, Snow has called the president "something of an embarrassment," a leader who has "lost control of the federal budget," the architect of a "listless domestic policy" and a man who has "a habit of singing from the political correctness hymnal."

Bush shrugged off the criticism. "He's not afraid to express his own opinions," he said of his new spokesman. "For those of you who've read his columns and listened to his radio show, he sometimes has disagreed with me. I asked him about those comments, and he said, `You should have heard what I said about the other guy.'"

But what the Bush White House will not tell you is that it is the message that counts--not the messenger. Consider this detail the Yahoo story:

Bush said he liked the perspective Snow brings to the job and a senior White House official said that like McClellan, Snow will have a seat at the table and "was assured that he will be free to participate in policy development and strategic decisions."

Analysts said it was possible that Snow could make the White House more friendly for reporters but that the key will be whether Snow has the insider role he was said to have wanted as a condition for taking the job.

Reporters most of all want a press secretary who is considered a presidential confidant, such as Jody Powell was for Jimmy Carter, and doing that would require a major attitude adjustment by Bush himself, said Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar and professor at George Washington University.

"There's no way he can be in the inner, inner circle," said Hess. "He hasn't paid his dues enough for that. He can sit at the table, he can even say things, but he understands that."

Joe Lockhart, a press secretary for Democratic President Bill Clinton, said Bush does not have a messenger problem, he has a message problem, and that Snow faces the challenge of changing the culture of a White House "that prizes secrecy and frowns upon leveling with the American people."

"That culture is dictated by the president and the vice president, and bringing in someone however talented they are -- and Tony is certainly talented -- won't solve the problem," Lockhart said.

It is simple as that. The culture that the neocons have created will be resistant to any major policy changes as a reason to revive this moribund Bush presidency. The neocons of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Rice, Hadley, and others have become entrenched in this Bush White House. The neocons have aligned themselves with the big corporate interests and the Religious Right extremists to forge a power bloc that not just defines the Bush administration, but has become the Bush administration It is an administration that sells itself to the highest bidder. And even George "stay the course" Bush will find it impossible to change his political policies that are opposite of his simplistic views of the world--tainted by religious extremism. There is nothing that Tony Snow can say that will change the mind-set of these entrenched extremists. If anything, the policies will remain the same and the extremists in the Bush White House will demand that Tony Snow to adapt the message in continuing to sell these disastrous policies to the American people.

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