David Gregory Vs. Tony Snow, Part 2
Being in the White House press corps can be a no-win situation. But sometimes, the right question can get a very interesting answer.
During yesterday's back-and-forth between NBC's David Gregory and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, Gregory asked the right question.
Here's the exchange:
GREGORY: Can you describe how it's possible to oppose the President on the war on Iraq without emboldening the terrorists?
SNOW: Yes. Yes, absolutely. There are ways to do it. But also, if you say we need to leave right now, without preconditions -- and I'm not sure anybody says that, but I'll give you a hypothetical -- that would embolden the terrorists. If the end result was that we left Iraq and we did not have an Iraq that was able to sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself, that would embolden the terrorists.
... But there are ways of -- you can disagree over a lot of things. If you share the objective of having an Iraq -- and this is what's kind of interesting about the debate last night, because if you look at the President's speech, he talks about an Iraq that's going to be able to be democratic -- I don't know that that's controversial with anybody -- an Iraq where Iraqi forces are going to be able to defend Iraqi ground. I don't know that that's controversial. I think those are the things -- to answer your question, and I'll let you get back to this, to answer your question, it is possible to disagree. But on the other hand, if you are proposing a position that says to Bin Laden, in effect, Iraq is yours, then that is not the kind of thing that I think is going to lead to victory.
In other words, you can disagree with the president on Iraq ... as long as you agree with the president on Iraq.
You can disagree with the president over "a lot of things" -- Snow doesn't say what, but I'm guessing he means the number of troops in Iraq, or the number of coalition partners the U.S. has -- but if you disagree about the big-ticket item, like if/when to consider troop redeployment, that's a no-no.
When you disagree with the President like that, you've apparently crossed the "with us or against us" line; you might as well join Al Qaeda. You've left yourself open to name-calling and hyperbole from Republican politicians and their friends in the conservative noise machine.
As has often been said, dissent does not equal disloyalty ... except when the Bush Administration says so.