I'm all a-chuckle over the general description of Fox News pundit Tony Snow's appointment as the new White House Press Secretary as being part of the "White House makeover." Heh. It will take a lot more than lipstick to make that pig look pretty.
We have the most transparently secretive government in the history of this country.
We know that the Iraq policy was formulated by the Project for the New American Century in the nineties, and that the 9/11 attacks were the "convenient excuse" the neoconservatives in and around the administration were looking for to execute that policy.
We know that Cheney and others cooked the intelligence on Hussein's WMD, and that the Rove machine used White House friendly reporters like Judith Miller to spread disinformation to the American public through the mainstream news media.
And that's just where it starts.
What's more, as the polls show, the Bush administration's line of bull has run thin. Even American citizens who understand little to nothing about rhetoric and propaganda tricks know that every time administration officials and supporters open their mouths, they're blowing smoke.
Changing the color of the smoke by substituting Snow for McClellan won't change the perceptions of anyone but already terminally brainwashed, and their perceptions don't need changing, at least not as far as the White House is concerned.
The Bush administration's rhetoric has seldom reflected anything resembling reality. In that regard, they are typical of what Princeton Professor Emeritus Harry G. Frankfurt described in his celebrated essay "On Bullshit."
Both in lying and in telling the truth people are guided by their beliefs concerning the way things are. These guide them as they endeavor either to describe the world correctly or to describe it deceitfully. For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to. ...The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Thus it is with the Rovewellians. Facts and evidence matter not a whit. If you can come up with the right talking points, and speak them forcefully enough, and echo them often enough, the truth is irrelevant. Until, of course, you've bullshit your way through one too many truths, and all but the most gullible have caught on to you. At that point, hiring a bigger and better bullshit artist to talk to the press for you isn't going to do any good.
Speaking of bullshit artists...
I don't know how this happened, but I've gotten myself on a number of conservative publishers' e-mail lists. Maybe somebody was playing a practical joke on me, but whatever the case, I'm glad it happened, because all these right wing literature promos give an insight to the extent of the cognitive dissonance of the right wing mindset. One of these outfits--Human Events Online--just sent me a promo for Ann Coulter's upcoming book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
According to the Human Events promo, Ann "proves" that in The Church of Liberalism, abortion is a sacrament, Roe v. Wade is "holy writ" and Soviet spies like Alger Hiss are martyrs. Ann even "refutes" the sacred liberal myth of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
And all in one book!
For subscribing to the Human Events book club, you can get Godless--a $27.95 value--for free!
I find it an utterly fantastic fact of the American condition that a book by Ann Coulter costs $27.95 in an age when you can buy a leather bound copy of Shakespeare's complete works for $19.99.
A thousand monkeys pecking away at a thousand typewriters for a thousand years couldn't come up with a single one of Shakespeare's soliloquies. But they could probably produce something vastly superior to the complete works of Ann Coulter.
I just heard former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers say on MSNBC that Tony Snow will have to listen to "two voices in his head." One will no doubt tell him what incredible bullshit he's handing out to the White House Press Corps. The other one will be saying, "Take the money, then run to Ann Coulter's publisher, and take more money."
All the nonsense we're hearing about Tony's criticisms of Bush is, well, bullshit. At heart, he's a Coulter-class administration and neoconservative agenda supporter. On his Fox News show, he toed the company line about Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson, John Kerry and the Swift Boaters, liberal justices, George W. Bush's Vietnam era service, and much more.
Tony Snow is just a bigger, redder cape in the Bush administration bullring. We'll see how effective he is at continuing to fool the mindless beasts.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his weekday commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.