Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It could work: Trading sullen and dull for pretty and personable in the new White House press secretary

Right now the liberal blogosphere is having a great time snickering about how Tony Snow doesn’t really have to quit his job at FOX to take over as the new White House Press Secretary. He’s merely shifting from one “department” to another, they note. The “joke sort of tells itself,” says Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo. Yet, I wonder if something is being missed.

What George Bush has done is trade Scott McClellan’s ordinary looks (sorry Scott) and rather robot-like and sullen demeanor for pretty-boy Snow’s personality.

Bush is trying to portray the appointment as a way to put a true professional journalist in the position.

CNN reports:
"As a professional journalist, Tony Snow understands the importance of the relationship between government and those whose job it is to cover the government," Bush told reporters in the White House briefing room.
This is hogwash because Snow is far from being a “professional journalist,” but I’m digressing from my main point.

Some in the media are focusing on some of Snow’s criticisms of Bush. This angle helps Bush, who is often portrayed – apparently accurately – as living in a bubble surrounded by yes men.
"He's not afraid to express his own opinions," the president said (of Snow). "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.' "
Yet the true importance of this appointment may lay in the fact that Bush – the hated and rapidly approval-plunging president – is bringing in a TV pretty boy who knows how to woo an audience. Remember the press secretary speaks to two audiences: the White House press corps, which is as human as the rest of us and can sometimes be won by charm, and the public who see the press secretary on TV.

Have we all become yet another TV audience for Snow to charm? Can he do it? Will Snow win us over with his personality, or could anyone succeed in winning over an audience over with such a horrible “product” (read that as horrible president) to sell?

We’ll find out, but I wonder if Bush has made a shrewd decision. That worries the heck out of me.

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