Tony Snow Negotiating for Press Secretary Gig
Hotline reports that Tony Snow is leaning toward taking the White House press secretary job but is negotiating for more power.
A week after White House press secretary Scott McClellan suddenly resigned, and — nothing. Late last week, White House chief of staff Josh Bolten directly (firmly but politely) asked senior administration officials to stop unburdening themselves to the process-hungry Washington press corps. That explains, in part, why speculative chatter has diminished.
In the meantime, Fox Newser Tony Snow is said by Republicans familiar with the negotiations to have asked for guaranteed access to the president’s ear and to an unusually large degree of latitude to reconfigure the WH press operation. That pleases the new chief of staff, who wants to relegitimize the press podium in the Brady briefing room.
But Snow, not content to be a herald, also wants near-complete control over what he says from the podium, be it bromides, platitudes or substance. That would encroach on the broad portfolio of responsibilities that Dan Bartlett claims for himself.
I like Tony Snow and think he would do an outstanding job in communicating the president’s message. Until reading this, however, it has struck me as a step backward from being the former host of a major Sunday morning talk show and a national talk show host.
Now I see that he is hoping to turn the podium into his own private microphone, essentially a television commentary show with irregular hours with himself as the call screener. Somehow, this redefinition of the job–which has generally been geared toward giving the views of the president, not the press secretary–seems like a bad idea. (For Bush at least–it would be great for Snow.)
This very much reminds me of the 1980 presidential convention, when Ronald Reagan was lobbying former President Gerald Ford to be his running mate. After a few days of Ford trying to negotiate a co-presidency, Reagan decided he might be better off with George H.W. Bush.