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Meet the new meme, lame as the old meme
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, April 27, 2006

OLD MEME: New Press Secretary Tony Snow is a harsh critic of the Bush administration!

NEW MEME: New Press Secretary Tony Snow is a lying apparatchik of the Bush administration and his hiring means "the White House is not serious about beginning a new era of telling the truth to the American people". Never mind the old meme.

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OLD MEME: "Hawks like Perle and William Kristol pulled their hair out when [US foreign policy] ... left Saddam's regime in place after the first Gulf War. [...] When [9/11 happened], the hawks felt, not without some justification, that they had seen this danger coming all along, while others had ignored it." [Josh Marshall]

NEW MEME: According to Francis Fukuyama, "during the 1990s "There was actually a deliberate search for an enemy because [Bill Kristol, et al] felt that the Republican Party didn't do as well" when foreign policy wasn't on the issue agenda. The obvious candidates were either China or something relating to Islamic fundamentalism and, as Fukuyama notes, what they came up with was China. Then 9/11 changed things around, at least for a few years."


I see that Matt Yglesias, normally a very astute political observer, has fallen for that last one, writing that it "reveals a great deal about the mentality that's been guiding America's foreign policy during the Bush years". The paranoid style of American politics has replaced some critical thinking, so perhaps an explanation would help clarify this.

In the late 1990s, William Kristol established the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and served as its chairman. The purpose of this think-tank was to "set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy". A post-Cold War military geared towards fighting WWIII, nuclear deterrence (MAD) and a ground war in Europe was fine for the Cold War challenge, but very poorly suited for future problems. So, Kristol and Friends were interested in defining a new foreign policy vision and with re-orienting the US towards potential future problems.

Certainly, China — and East Asia in general — was a part of that new alignment, but you'll find that a lot of their work on the China problem dealt more with defending democracy (Taiwan) and supporting human rights, rather than military scaremongering. Their 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (pdf) platform merely argued that the US should maintain its preeminent status and re-deploy in the East Asia/PACOM area in order to reassure regional allies, safeguard the rising Asian democracies and ensure China's growth is peaceful.

Meanwhile, their very first bit of advocacy was a letter to President Clinton urging "the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power" over the long term through "a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts".

This early focus on Iraq should not come as a surprise to Mr Fukuyama. He signed that letter himself.

In any event, after years of "the Evil PNAC masterminds have been planning Iraq for years!" some on the left are now convinced that it was only "after 9/11 [that they] switched to Islamic fundamentalism". Both views are good red meat for the masses, but they're also shallow, inadequate caricatures of foreign policy.
 
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OLD MEME: New Press Secretary Tony Snow is a harsh critic of the Bush administration!

NEW MEME: New Press Secretary Tony Snow is a lying apparatchik of the Bush administration and his hiring means "the White House is not serious about beginning a new era of telling the truth to the American people". Never mind the old meme.
Don’t see the contradiction here. Snow is a harsh critic. Said some nast stuff about Shrub. Then, he turns around and becomes Shrub’s chief apologist. Does that make him a liar? I would say it does. Others might disagree. But it surely does make him a hack. And it certainly calls into question his credibility henceforth in the briefing room.

What has changed about the Bush administraiton that would make him change his mind? Nothing. So either he was lying then or he is lying now.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
So either he was lying then or he is lying now.
Or both. Gun for hire, so to speak
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
From ThinkProgress:
According to right-wing bloggers, publishing our compilation of Tony Snow’s harsh criticism of President Bush was a huge mistake. A superior strategy would have been to “be silent” or “praise Snow for being a good guy.” Here’s the National Review’s Jonah Goldberg:

I don’t think many people have realized how the left blew it in its response to his appointment. The Center for American Progress and others immediately dug up every negative thing Snow ever said about Bush. This was precisely the stuff they should have downplayed. Instead, by doing this, they established Tony’s credibility and integrity… If [they] had been smart, they would have just let the whole thing go as ho-hum and praised Snow for being a good guy.

Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff seconds that emotion:

On the one hand, the Bush-haters at John Podesta’s think tank couldn’t resist digging up every negative comment Snow has ever made about the Bush administration. Not only did this help establish Snow’s credibility and integrity, as Goldberg notes, but it also signaled to the conservative base that this is a good and meaningful selection…. Once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to be silent or non-committal.

It’s facinating that, according to Goldberg and Mirengoff, the way to establish “credibility and integrity” is to call President Bush “an embarassment” and “impotent.”
Up is down baby. Up is down.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Oh - and by the way - maybe Billy can answer this question. Isn’t calling Shrub "impotent" and an "embarassment" a symptom of Bush Derangement Syndrome? If Snow’s a carrier, then there’s a chance that even Shrub himself could get infected.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Except that the stuff Snow said about Bush was what many of us here have said of him and republicans many times. It’s not that you call him an embarassement or speak bad about Bush, it’s why you do it. Do you blame him for increasing levels of public spending (not BDS), or do you blame him for hurricane katrina and hating black people (is BDS)
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Except that the stuff Snow said about Bush was what many of us here have said of him and republicans many times.
My apologies MK, you probably weren’t aware of the above fact since you never comment in any of the posts talking bad about Bush or republicans here.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
MK,

Why, if Snow is indeed the "hack" you assert he is (I am actually in agreement for the most part), would he not play either side of the coin, depending on who is the client.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
mk,

But Snow never called Bush an "embarrassment," he merely pointed out that some Virginia Republicans felt that way. Sorry you fell for the spin of ABC, NBC and the Mighty Keith Olbermann.
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://gabbleratchet.blogspot.com
I think it’s fair to say that Kristol & co. were on the lookout for an enemy, as hawks generally are. It’s in our nature to be suspicious of a vacuum. And I did feel at times during those years that the Standard in particular was perhaps a bit more suspicious of China than necessary, esp. when combined with the magazine’s open call for a unifying struggle of some sort.

But to suggest that these guys are johnnies-come-lately to Saddam as a threat is bonkers. And as Krauthammer has noted, Fukuyama’s grasp of history in recent years has ranged from the tendentious to the brazenly false. No wonder he wanted to declare an end to history - he can’t keep it straight.
 
Written By: Crank
URL: http://www.baseballcrank.com
Snow is a harsh critic. Said some nast stuff about Shrub. Then, he turns around and becomes Shrub’s chief apologist. Does that make him a liar? I would say it does.
A spokesman’s job is not to tell his own opinion, but to relate the message of his boss. There’s no contradiction at all between having one opinion on spending in his Pundit Chair, and expressing a different opinion as a WH Spokesman.

I wouldn’t call it "nasty stuff", though. Contra the kind of baldfaced nonsense you and some lefty blogs spread, the right side of the blogosphere is not one big shill for the administration. Sure, Powerline and Hewitt are as partisan as, say, Atrios and Kos. But most of the rest of us have spoken loud and long against this administration. If you didn’t get all your information about the Right through your own narrow prism, you might have noticed that.
It’s facinating that, according to Goldberg and Mirengoff, the way to establish “credibility and integrity” is to call President Bush “an embarassment” and “impotent.”
So, make up your mind. They always side with the administration or they think it’s fair to say those things about Bush.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I think it’s fair to say that Kristol & co. were on the lookout for an enemy, as hawks generally are.
I think we may be approaching the same thing through two different perspectives. Of course they were looking for an enemy. And there’s nothing wrong with seeing the politics in that. If the Right prides itself on being strong on defense, then the Right had darned well better figure out what the best post-war orientation is going to be.

During the Bush 41 and Clinton years, we had essentially moved out of the Cold War Containment strategy and into....nothing, really. We had a vaguely Realist stability policy combined with attempts at economic integration (generally good, I think), but no overarching vision of what the next challenge would be and how we would orient our military for that challenge.

So, yeah, they were looking for the Next Big Problem. But that’s a practical, necessary thing, and not a cold, calculated political ploy. Perhaps Fukuyama really did think there would never again be war, super-powers, etc. But he signed on with people a bit more realistic than that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Mkultra, you know guy, You sometimes have some creative, and intelligent things to say, but you ruin it all by acting like a silly little child. First of all, I do not even consider any argument wherein you use the term "shrub". George W. Bush is the president of the United States and you are NOT demeaning him by use of immature terms, you are instead attacking the office, and indirectly the nation.
BTW, I never was comfortable with calling President Clinton "Bubba" for the same reasons, though regrettably I did so occasionally.
As for Tony Snow, he does indeed reflect the views of the administration, because he, just like Bush, believes that illegal immigration is no big thing .
So, he is a good choice for them. If he criticized them in the past, well that actually goes to his advantage, I would never trust an absolute suck up. (like for instance: Paul Begala, James Carville, and Eleanor Clift.)
Look, you are deranged, and you need to get over it, because, A)the world is not about to end, in fact things are pretty good right now B) Bush wont be around for much longer, and C) you can get far more people to see things your way when you don’t first insult them, or assault their intelligence.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
One would be very interested to read the entire paragraph (or even sentence) that ThinkProgress carefully excised those sentences from. Let’s just say they’re being as honest as they have usually been on the Left.

Which is to say ... not at all.
 
Written By: Martin A. Knight
URL: http://
I’ve got plenty of disagreements with administration, and they’ve been disappointing on plenty of issues.

I’d still work there in a New Yawk minute...

Because, it’s a chance to make things better.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Imagine if the criterum for selecting a new Press Secretary was that the candidate has no record of ever disagreeing with any Bush policy.

a) How big a candidate pool would be left? Not much, and populated by suck-ups.
b) What kind of reaction would with provoke from Bush’s critics?

Yet this is the kind of process MK would prefer. Amazing.
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
So, he is a good choice for them. If he criticized them in the past, well that actually goes to his advantage, I would never trust an absolute suck up. (like for instance: Paul Begala, James Carville, and Eleanor Clift.)

Does this mean you don’t trust Fred Barnes?
 
Written By: Pug
URL: http://
"But Snow never called Bush an "embarrassment," he merely pointed out that some Virginia Republicans felt that way. Sorry you fell for the spin of ABC, NBC and the Mighty Keith Olbermann."
Uh, no. He actually did call Bush an embarrassment:
The Swagger Factor has national repercussions because George W. Bush has lost his. His wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson. The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment. At the nadir of his campaign, Jerry Kilgore actively dodged having to share a stage with the commander in chief.
Maybe you could do a quick google search before you spout your pseudoknowledge?
 
Written By: Jay
URL: http://

 
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