White House press secretary Tony Snow, during his last day on the job today, lamented the state of modern political discourse and said President Bush is right about immigration and that his defeated plan will one day be the law.
“It’s almost like watching a child misbehave in kindergarten,” Mr. Snow said of blogs, pundits and politicians who are “chasing novelty.”
Mr. Snow, speaking to a group of about 20 reporters over breakfast at a hotel one block from the White House, criticized Democrats for not denouncing a newspaper ad this week, run by liberal group MoveOn.org, which called Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, “General Betray Us.”
“Democrats should be out condemning it,” Mr. Snow said, but said that in a speeded up, hyped up media landscape, “everybody’s trying to be shriller than the next guy.”
Mr. Snow bemoaned the personal attacks by both Democrats and Republicans that have become the status quo in political debate.
“You do worry about the depth of hatred that has been stirred up about the president,” Mr. Snow said. “And frankly you see some on the right trying to do that with Hillary Clinton.”
Mr. Snow, himself a former member of the media before he joined the Bush administration less than 17 months ago, started his last day at work by speaking to live national audiences on four morning TV shows.
Mr. Snow, 52, has said he is leaving to make more money and spend more time with his family. But he is also fighting cancer for the second time in three years.
The former Fox News radio and TV show host, who overcame a bout with colon cancer in 2005, was told by doctors in March that his cancer had returned and attached itself to his liver. He underwent surgery and returned to work at the White House while undergoing bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments.
Mr. Snow said he plans to devote much of his time after he leaves the White House to speaking, writing and educating about cancer and how to deal with serious illness. He says he believes he can live for a long time with regular cancer treatments.
He will also write a political book, he said today, about the current state of the Republican party.
Mr. Snow was asked if the GOP is endangering its political future because of its hardline stance against illegal immigration.
“Ask me that question in a week, or even tomorrow,” Mr. Snow said. “But as the president’s press secretary I’m not going to step into that one right now.”
He did, however, say that “no political party is going to be able to survive without taking a good look at what is the fastest-growing voter bloc in America.”
Mr. Bush tried last year and this year to pass an immigration reform plan that was defeated in large part by conservative Republicans who viewed the plan as amnesty for illegal aliens.
“I deeply admire what [Mr. Bush] did on immigration and I think he’s right,” Mr. Snow said. “I think the policies the president outlined generally are the ones that eventually this country is going to adopt.”