Tony Snow presided over his last press briefing this morning.
But before he blew the world a kiss (off), the best of the deceptively affable Bush policy apologists (and inarguably one of the more media savvy ones) once again offered exasperated justifications for the inarguably harmful way the administration has conducted its defective strategies both here and abroad.
It was all sweetness and bleached smiles from the embattled spokesman, rolling his eyes and sparring good-naturedly with the occasionally pugnacious but supine press corps. And while there may have been some actual feelings approaching nostalgia about his departure, the indomitable Ailes-cum-Bushnik (in spite of his less-than-hale appearance) still managed to embody the swaggering persona that inspires incredulity and loathing worldwide. For while the parlor games continue unabated the young are still dying, the innocent are still being maimed and the soul of America is still being starved.
Tony, however, was wan; his thinning hair clung to his skull like mist on the White House lawn (even I did a small dry heave at that metaphor). He was energetic but you could tell: the ongoing battle with the disease had whittled away at his announcer's timbre rendering it no less authoritative but as though from farther off than from where he actually stood. But even a mortal struggle with a corrosive affliction could not sway this articulate and knowledgeable player from the game plan, in spite of the grim realities on the ground. And for all his bob and weave about shifting strategies and remaining nimble in the face of an ever morphing enemy, Tony, the frontman for the Bamboozling Bushes, spouted policy-prop as rigid and immovable as a granite monolith of the ten commandments. That of course has been their genius and ultimately their undoing. A perpetual Neo-Con agenda is no more permanent than a thousand year reich, though they do have their similarities.
And now as the administration and its dwindling retinue approach the autumn of their years, there will be the usual pomp and ritual heralding their passing, a parade of congenial fetes that dazzle and moisten the eyes of the ever gullible citizenry. And like the masque that Poe once wrote of in which the privileged and the policy makers partied behind what they thought was an impermeable wall, they learned to their horror that any separation from mortality is an illusion, especially when the bricks in the wall are hubris, the mortar greed and the architects corrupt.
So good bye, Tony Snow. Of all the fights you fought, the only real just one is plain for all to see. And in that one you have our unflinching support.