Suggested questions for the White House press corps to ask on Tony Snow's first day

››› ››› SIMON MALOY & JOSH KALVEN

National Journal's "The Hotline" reported on April 25 that "Republicans close to the White House expect Pres. Bush to formally name Tony Snow as his new press secretary." Snow, a syndicated columnist and Fox News host, has emerged as the front-runner to replace outgoing White House press secretary Scott McClellan, who announced his resignation on April 19. Throughout his tenure as a columnist, Snow has offered various opinions on President Bush, the Bush administration, the Republican Party in general, and top Democrats that the White House press corps may want him to expand upon should he be named press secretary. Media Matters for America suggests the following questions:

Do you still think President Bush is a "wimp" and looks "impotent" for not "veto[ing] a single bill of any type"?

From Snow's September 30, 2005, column:

Begin with the wimp factor. No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives. Nearly 57 months into his administration, President Bush has yet to veto a single bill of any type. The only other presidents never to issue a veto -- William Henry Harrison and James Garfield -- died within months of taking office.

Could you elaborate on the "leaden phrases" and the "unbearably abstract and dull" portions of Bush's "Social Security sales pitch" that made it "stink[]"?

From Snow's May 4, 2005, column:

Polls indicate President Bush is taking a pounding on the issue of Social Security. I will explain tomorrow why many of these reports are exaggerated. Today, I'll focus on the simpler issue of why his Social Security sales pitch stinks.

[...]

Check out the leaden phrases: "the math has changed ... 40 million retirees receiving benefits ... more than 72 million retirees drawing Social Security benefits ... 16 workers for every beneficiary ... 3.3 workers for every beneficiary; soon there will be two workers for every beneficiary ... In 2017 ... by 2041 ..."

Not one syllable of this stuff resonates with people sitting at home watching on TV. It sounds as if some rogue accountant has invaded the president's body, and filled his head statistical dross.

I agree with the president, and I actually sympathize with his argument, but this is unbearably abstract and dull. So what would I, Mr. Smarty Pants Radio Host, do instead? I would speak Dinner Table English.

With the failure of Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination, do you consider Bush's presidency effectively over?

From Snow's October 7, 2005, column:

So now things get interesting. The president has stirred up a lot of mischief, but Miers has to clean up the mess. The upcoming confirmation hearings will determine her fate -- and the president's. If she defies expectations, George Bush will look like a genius. If the Senate rejects her nomination, his presidency will come effectively to an end.

Do you still believe that Republicans nationwide "behave like reckless heirs to someone else's fortune"?

From Snow's November 11, 2005, column:

Elected Republicans and their legislative leaders nationwide have fallen prey to the natural temptation to view power as their birthright, rather than a reward for hard and righteous work. This explains why they behave like reckless heirs to someone else's fortune. It's a little difficult to mock Ted Kennedy or Howard Dean when George W. Bush can't even say no to peanut institutes in Alabama or gambling halls (rather than, say, repaired levees) in Louisiana.

Would you still argue that the Republican Party is "packed with cowards"? Or that the president's "compassionate conservatism" is "a slogan that exceeded skeptics' worst expectations"? Or that Bush "lack[ed] not only conviction, but vision" when he signed McCain-Feingold? If not, what has caused you to change your mind, aside from having accepted this job?

From Snow's December 3, 2005, column:

When Democrats gibber about Republicans' writhing in a culture of corruption, they're on to something -- but not what they think. The Republican Party in Washington is in trouble not because it's overrun by crooks, but because it's packed with cowards -- and has degenerated into a caricature of the party that swept to power 11 years ago promising to take on the federal bureaucracy and liberate the creative genius of American society.

[...]

Hence, George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" -- a slogan that exceeded skeptics' worst expectations. That phrase, aimed at reassuring suburban white moms and queasy left-wing Republicans, became a white flag on the core issue of government size and might. Bush insiders even began boasting about "big government" conservatism -- oblivious to the fact that big government does not conserve or preserve; it crushes and digests, devouring institutions that challenge its supremacy.

[...]

When House Speaker Denny Hastert broke arms to secure votes for a pork-packed highway bill, calling the legislation a "jobs bill," it was an embarrassment. When the president signed a campaign-finance bill he called unconstitutional, he seemed to lack not only conviction, but vision.

In your estimation, has the "Conservative Movement" bounced back after Bush's and the Republicans' spending policies "shattered" it "like a broken mirror, into dozens of jagged, sharp and discordant pieces"?

From Snow's September 1, 2004, column:

In addition, George W. Bush has made it clear that "compassionate conservatism" is expensive conservatism -- a formula many Republicans consider oxymoronic (and others, just "moronic").

[...]

When it comes to spending, George W. Bush is the president who hasn't said no. He has approved the most dramatic expansion of government activity and expense since Richard Nixon and unlike Nixon, or any other modern president, hasn't vetoed a single bill in his first term of office.

[...]

Not so long ago, one could count on Republicans at least to defend the idea of limited government, but no more. This is the chief reason the Conservative Movement has shattered, like a broken mirror, into dozens of jagged, sharp and discordant pieces.

Will you pursue amicable relations with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), even though he "behave[s] in such an inane manner," and "made official his descent into the Moonbat Grotto"?

From Snow's September 26, 2005, column:

Harry Reid was a famously nice guy before he became the Senate Democratic leader. Although reliably partisan, he built a well-earned reputation for playing the role of nice guy, the man of genial calm.

No more: The senator this week made official his descent into the Moonbat Grotto by issuing a lame rebuke of John Roberts, the president's choice to become the next chief justice of the Supreme Court.

[...]

Reid's performance raises an interesting and vital question: What on earth would persuade a naturally nice man to behave in such an inane manner -- and why would a majority of Democrats join him in voting against John Roberts, who may be the strongest high-court nominee in a century?

Person
Tony Snow
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