Uh, Mr. President, Sir, may I have a word with you?
Shore. C'mon in. No excess formality needed. Just a simple "Excellency" will do.
Ha ha. Good one Mr. President!
Never mind. There is something I think I need to tell you.
You know how we're using the executive privilege defense against having Rover and Harriet testify on the Hill about firing those U.S. Attorneys who weren't, er, performing up to your expectations? [Tony makes quote marks in the air with his fingers when he says performing up to your expectations]
Yup. Man, ah was just spittin' rocks about that yesterday, wasn't I? Kinda drew a line in the sand, didn't ah? Those pesky Democrats don't have a leg to stand on.
That's kind of what I want to talk to you about, Sir. You remember the Clinton impeachment, don't you?
Course ah do. What do you think ah am, dumb? That Clinton feller beat my daddy back in '92. We damn near strung him up, too!
Yes, Sir, we did, didn't we? But I'm afraid we created a problem for ourselves, and I contributed to it. A lot of media types really pooh-poohed executive privilege when Clinton tried to raise it to keep his aides from testifying.
Really? Like who?
[Tony gulps] Well, me.
You? Deep fried Jesus on a stick! What did you say?
Let me read an op ed piece I wrote:
(HEADLINE: "Executive Privilege is a Dodge")
Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.
Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.
One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold -- the rule of law.
I also said this on the teevee:
Tony Snow, Fox News, March 18, 1998:
In our latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll, we asked a series of questions about executive privilege. Most believe it's an attempt to stonewall Ken Starr's investigation. There's an even split on whether the White House has something to hide. And a majority thinks conversations with the first lady should not be covered.
Did the president invoke executive privilege to preserve the presidency or hold Ken Starr at bay?
Why didn't you tell me this when you applied for the job?
Sir, I hardly thought the subject would come up, especially like this.
With this administration? Are you kidding? Well, maybe nobody will notice.
I'm afraid they already have, Sir. I got some really pointed questions this morning.
Just tell 'em it's different.
How the hell do ah know? Talk to Fielding. He's slick. Lot smarter than Harriet, to tell the truth.
I will, but I'm telling you that the White House Press Corp is restless; I've never seen it like this before.
Oh hell, Tony, throw 'em a dinner or something. You know how make 'em go back to sleep.
Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir.
Tags: executive privilege, U.S. Attorneys