Tony Snow: "Congress Has No Oversight Responsibility Over the White House":
CBS News host Harry Smith administered an old-fashioned journalistic bitch-slapping to White House Press Secretary Tony "Actually, Karl Rove Is Easier On My Asshole Than Rupert Murdoch Was" Snow this morning on the virtually unwatchable Early Show. He went at Snow as a skeptic, as someone who needed to be convinced that the White House was offering members of Congress something more than a "chat," as Smith put it, with Karl Rove and Harriet Miers over the firings of U.S. Attorneys.
Snow came off sounding like the fanciest-dressed apparatchik at the politburo, saying things like that the White House will give Congress everything the White House thinks "they need" to look into the matter. Snow distanced the White House from the Department of Justice, which will become the spin as Alberto Gonzales is forced to walk the plank for the good of his captain.
"You're trying to create a narrative," Snow insisted to Smith, adding, "The perception is that you're trying to badger me into creating a fight between the White House and the legislative branch. And what we're trying to do is something pretty extraordinary." One assumes that the extraordinary something is cooperation with Congress in an investigation, but, of course, only on the White House's terms.
Then Snow said something that really was extraordinary: "The legislative branch has no oversight responsibility over the White House...the executive branch doesn't have to do anything." Now, the Rude Pundit's no Consitutional scholar teaching at yer big damn law schools, but it seems like, well, fuck, yeah, actually, that's what your basic "checks and balances" are. As rude reader J. Wilson (who gets the hat tip for actually stomaching the show) notes, "Is this a dictatorship or a constitutional republic?" Does J. really want an answer to that question?
Snow attacked Smith, saying that "You're sounding more like a partisan than a reporter." Smith wouldn't back down, apparently remembering the "truth" part of "truth seeking," holding up a transcript of Snow's press briefing and wondering why there can't be a transcript of any meeting. Snow said he just wanted everyone to know the truth. Smith scoffed, disgusted (really), and said, "I hope so. You owe it to me."
It was a good ol' fashioned brawl, of the kind you used to hear about, when Chet Huntley would drag an aide to Ike into an alley off the secret, hidden J Street in D.C. and the two of them would go toe to toe in the rat shit and dirty snow until only one man was still standing, usually Huntley, who would spit at the prone figure, dragged off by David Brinkley, knowing full well that the aide would be more than willing to appear the next night on their news show.