Why Tony Snow is a Perfect Choice for Press Secretary
looking forward to watching Tony Snow work as the new White House
Press Secretary for a number of reasons. For one, Scott McClellan just wasn’t
very good at it. With all his steely-eyed glares and vicious smiles, McClellan
just made it look painful, and he never lost the palpable impression of someone
who had been promoted to a job he didn’t want because his boss quit, and whose
soul was being poisoned by his work. Plus he had the natural charm of a tarantula.
Snow, on the
other hand, is a better choice by far. He has a camera-ready smile and his
experience as a media shill makes him sympathetic to the press. This makes
Fox News’ status as an extension of the White House official. But there’s
one fact above all that makes Snow the perfect hire: He’s an idiot.
I don’t mean
just that I disagree with Snow on most issues. What I’m saying is, he’s just
really stupid. This is a huge plus for him in his new job, just as it was
Think about it.
One of McClellan’s major drawbacks was his rapid, unemotional delivery of
denials and obfuscations, which sent a clear message to reporters and the
public: “We both know this is bullshit, but I get paid serious money to say
Snow, on the
other hand, will probably even believe himself when he delivers the standard
“ongoing investigation” or “national security” non-comments. His voice will
pitch and swoop with the inflections of a man emotionally invested in his
position. This obviously raises his credibility factor. He’s also much taller.
If you’re not
convinced Snow’s as dumb as I say, a perusal of some of his own statements
should set you straight.
Let’s look at
Snow’s understanding of foreign policy.
Last year on
“Real Time with Bill Maher,” Snow defended America’s accomplishments in Iraq
by pointing out that there were now women in the government, adding that,
“you didn’t have girls in school when Saddam was there.”
Of course, this
is incorrect. For decades, Iraq has been one of the most progressive countries
in the Middle East regarding gender. Women go to school, they go to college,
they become doctors and engineers, and it’s not even controversial. Saddam
is evil enough that we don’t need to invent an oppressive gender policy to
But that’s the
thing: Snow wasn’t lying; he’s just stupid. Like any other soft-headed heartland
cracker, he ignorantly assumes that, since Iraq is a nation of Muslims, they
must be keeping their women illiterate. No matter that Snow has been talking
about Iraq for years, as a Fox News anchor, a talk show host on Fox News Radio,
subbing for Rush Limbaugh, and writing for the Washington Times, USA Today,
and the Detroit News among other papers; he still doesn’t know the first damn
thing about it. And that is just the kind of irredeemable moron that can convincingly
put forth the Bush message.
Speaking of Iraq,
here’s a quote from a column Snow wrote in early January: “For whatever reason,
the president’s critics are dodging the one question that really matters:
Is the war morally justifiable?”
Funny, but I
thought that just about every critic of the war based their opposition
on the grounds that the war is immoral. But this is Snow’s style of argument:
if you can’t arrive at your desired conclusion based on the known facts, just
make some shit up. He does it over and over again. Writing about race a couple
of weeks later, Snow informs us that racism is a thing of the past: “Those
eager to exploit differences between blacks and whites in America ignore the
fact that the differences have all but vanished. One might as well complain
about the gas mileage of a 1959 Edsel.” Well that’s a relief. Then he retroactively
paints segregated America as a Rainbow Coalition rally, telling us that when
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke, “everyone in America knew what he was
talkin’ about.” Technically this is true; people understood Dr. King—it’s
just that a good number of them wanted him dead.
Here is Snow
arguing for a literal belief in Jesus’ resurrection, this Easter:
express our vanity through such things as the self-help movement, which in
its endless lose-weight, have-sex, purge-guilt, be-happy manifestations promises
that one doesn’t need God... Who needs resurrection when you’ve got the South
Snow here has
pitted Christian devotees against their natural enemy--the Oprah audience.
His argument gets even worse:
“We all believe
in the miraculous—in events and achievements that not only beggar the imagination,
but defy the boundaries of reason.
is the obvious example. You can’t measure it. You can’t see it. You can’t
manufacture it. And you can’t live without it. Or how about prayer? Doctors
swear by it. And even those who have tried to debunk it through scholarship
have found themselves apologizing that even seemingly damning results seem
First of all,
this is just wrong. Love is a distinct neurochemical phenomenon, and can indeed
be detected, measured, and studied, as unromantic as that may be. And the
so-called power of prayer has been debunked in a study released last month
involving cardiac bypass surgery patients, wherein those who knew they were
being prayed for actually did worse than subjects who were not prayed
for, and were told as much (sounds kind of cold, I know). Perhaps it’s knowledge
of that study which caused Snow to add the nonsensical gibberish sentence
at the end of that paragraph, whatever it’s supposed to mean. Snow does this
a lot when he’s painted himself into a corner. He shouldn’t really have mentioned
prayer, since that study hasn’t had enough time to fade from the consciousness
of the public, but, seemingly incapable of backing up, he blunders on, adding
some self-contradictory blather dense enough, he hopes, for the reader to
simply move on.
And I’m willing
to bet Tony doesn’t know any doctors who “swear by” prayer anyway. In reality,
prayer doesn’t help anyone but perhaps the person praying, because it relieves
their sense of impotence over problems they can’t really do anything about.
But Snow really likes the idea that prayer can help others, so he just says
His most brilliantly
stupid assertion comes next:
key to Easter is this: It is too preposterous, too outrageous, too incredible
not to be true, and not to be the key to a much larger truth.”
Wow. What an
amazingly dumb thing to say. By this standard, things become very clear—Santa
Claus really does exist, and OJ really is innocent. This is exactly the kind
of thinking the Bush administration needs to tease another three years of
stupefied obedience out of the mainstream press. “Of course Iran is going
to nuke us—it’s too preposterous not to be true.”
What about Snow’s
understanding of science? Here he is on evolution:
evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits’ end because the fossil record
provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another. We know species
adjust to environmental conditions -- ever notice how tall kids are these
days? -- and that natural selection does occur. But there’s nothing to vindicate
the notion of an evolutionary leap.”
The only thing
made clear in this passage is that Tony Snow, despite two college degrees,
does not understand the theory of evolution. Come on—tall kids? That’s what
he thinks adaptation is? American kids are taller these days because they
eat more food. That’s not adaptation. Adaptation would be if some common natural
predator wiped out short people. And natural selection is evolution—it’s
just that simple.
But my favorite
part is the thing about evolutionists being “at wits’ end.” It paints a vivid
picture: frazzled, stressed out scientists pulling out their unkempt grey
hair, desperately seeking evidence for their crackpot theory in the form of
a tiger with antlers. Never mind that many transitional species have been
found; Snow seems to share the sadly common imbecilic notion that evolution
implies some kind of conscious effort on the part of an organism to alter
its own DNA.
confirms his confusion by adding inexplicably that “Evolutionary theory…isn’t
verifiable or testable,” and that “it’s pure hypothesis.” These assertions
are creationist fantasy, and yet they surely improved his candidacy to speak
for the White House. You just know Scott McClellan is a closet Darwinist.
Again, Snow displays
here the traits necessary for a good professional liar. He is unfettered by
broad knowledge, and unmotivated to research an opposing argument’s merits.
He possesses an unflappable ability to ignore reality in favor of reassuring
illusions. And he has the genuine affability of a true simpleton.
He’s not evil.
He’s just stupid. And he’s perfect for his new job.