Monday, December 18, 2006


The "White House"

It's commonplace to see the media (or others) referring to "the White House said this" or "the White House position is such." The words "White House" are pretty much used as a synonym for "the U.S. administration" or "the U.S. President." How amusing, then, to see this headline today:
White House backs off Bush's Iraq view
Whoa! How is that possible? I know some like to joke that Bush isn't really the one in control, but as I've argued before, he may be strongly under the thumb of Cheney or Rove or whomever else you'd like to point the finger it, but in the end, it was his name on the ballot in 2004, and it's he who has to give the order to launch an invasion or whatever else. So the idea that "the White House" and "Bush" disagree is just bizarre.

The story, as you might have guessed, is about the responses given by Press Secretary Tony Snow in a press conference. Some blogs, like First Draft for example, are obsessed with White House "gaggles" and press conferences. Which, I admit, can be an amusing pastime. But the reality, as I have argued before, is that the White House Press Secretary is an unelected person whose opinion and answers to questions are completely irrelevant. Beyond announcing the Presidential schedule or reading a statement written by the President, the idea that he should banter with the press and answer questions serves only to keep the press busy. He's frequently asked questions about what the President thinks about this or that? Who cares what he thinks what the President thinks? If the President wants to make a position known, let him speak. Otherwise, save the taxpayers some money and just post the official statements on a website and dispense with this charade.

Why stop here? There's more...

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