Holy smokes, they’re in trouble. Tony Snow on the 18-day gap in the recent email purge:
I've been led to believe that there's a good response for it, and I'm going to let you ask them because they're going to have an answer.
He’s been “led to believe that there’s a good response”?? “They’re going to have an answer”??? Is he shitting us? He’s clearly in over his head and has given up trying to repeat other people’s lies. His biggest flaw was his own ego, which allowed him to believe that he could outwit the press corp. Rather than stonewall them like Ari or get caught flatfooted with cheap excuses like Scotty, Tony wanted to bowl them over with boldness.
If all those years at Fox taught him anything it was how to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. He was one of them, by god, and now they’re going to believe any damn thing he says. But with multiple scandals erupting daily, his bold openness has turned around to bite him in the ass, as he’s now established a reputation as the guy with the answer.
And that was a huge blunder. Because once you clam-up, everyone will smell blood and know you’re hiding something. That’s what made Ari Fleischer so good, he’d find any excuse whatsoever to avoid answering a question. In his opinion, you shouldn’t answer questions as a general principle, even if they’re easy questions. Because once you’ve established that you answer easy questions, it becomes too telling once you stop answering questions. And he’s probably right.
Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about:
“As a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence.”
See, this isn’t something he invented because he didn’t want to answer the question. This is a matter of long-standing policy. And you wouldn’t want him to violate his long-standing policy, would you? Of course not. He’d be happy to tell you, if it wasn’t for that policy. So he’s not hiding anything at all. He’s just being consistent.
And that’s why Snow’s game just won’t work. Because he doesn’t have a long-standing policy that prevents him from talking. Because he’s always talking. He’s open. He’s bold. And he’s screwed. He’s known for telling bullshit and now he’s signaling to everyone that he’s running out. And that just gives the whole game away.
Reporters don’t care if you bullshit them, but you can’t insult their intelligence by making it too easy. Ari frequently insulted their intelligence, but that was all part of his stonewall. Tony went for the snowjob and now is getting plowed under.
Here are a few Ari highlights:
When asked a simple question about whether the US would control Iraq’s oil fields after the war, Ari replied:
“I think that it’s impossible for anybody to speculate about anything and everything that could possibly happen under any military scenario. And I wouldn’t even try to start guessing what the military may or may not do.”
When asked about why the Bushies aren’t mentioning that the US “greenlighted” the gassing of the Kurds, Ari replies:
“Russell, I speak for President George W. Bush in the year 2003. If you have a question about statements that were purportedly made by the administration in 1988, you need to address those somewhere other than this White House. I can’t speak for that. I don’t know if it is accurate, inaccurate, but you have all the means to ask those questions yourself.”
When the reporter kept asking about America’s arming of Saddam, Ari finally says:
“And I think the suggestion that you blame America for Iraq’s actions is way beyond the pale.”
That’s a fricking stonewall, people.