While it is not merely fair but necessary to challenge the Supreme Court nominations of presidents who seek to stamp a lasting ideological imprint on the Constitution, and even to deny them Cabinet picks who have records of lawlessness, it certainly seems reasonable that they should have freedom of choice when it comes to selecting their fabulists.
It is the job of White House press secretaries to baffle and bamboozle an intentionally naive press corps and, by extension, the Congress and the American people.
The soon-to-be-forgotten Scott McClellan, like his only somewhat-more-memorable predecessor, Ari Fleischer, never hesitated to dissemble the truth. McClellan's problem as far as this White House was concerned was not his dishonesty, but rather the ineptitude he so frequently evidenced when practicing to deceive.
Veteran Republican retainer Tony Snow will probably be a better prevaricator-in-chief than either McClellan or Fleischer. Why? Because he is a confirmed ideologue who actually believes at least some of the big lies that he will be peddling.
After all, this is the Fox News commentator who, after the most recent State of the Union address, described the Bush administration as having a "brilliant foreign policy."
Snow is, as well, the political personality who said of what honest conservatives and liberals describe as the most imperial presidency in history: "No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives."
With all due respect, while George Bush may be incompetent, the boy king has never suffered from impotence when roused to do battle against the system of checks and balances, the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution on behalf of his Patriot Act, his warrantless wiretapping schemes and the White House-orchestrated punishment of those — like Ambassador Joe Wilson — who have dared reveal the cynical manipulations of intelligence that were used to make the "case" for his undeclared war.
If Tony Snow really does not think that George Bush has done enough to defend presidential powers and prerogatives, then he is a fine fit for this imperial presidency. He has not merely drunk the Kool-Aid, he has complained that the mix is not strong enough. Where Scott McClellan listlessly disseminated distortion, Snow will do so with gusto.
By John Nichols
Reprinted with permission from The Nation