Jan. 17, 2005

Behind the Scenes

Mary Matalin was hilarious today. The conservative half of Washington’s version of Hepburn and Tracy made it clear that she and husband, James Carville, aren’t talking politics these days. He gets to lick his wounds this week, while she and their daughters will sit with Vice President Dick Cheney at the presidential reviewing stand on Inaugural Day. Best line of the day was Matalin's reaction to a question about her husband: “Who?”

Ken Mehlman, just about to become Republican National Chairman, was kind enough to join us from the RNC’s television studios. I had requested that he join us via ISDN line, which provides an in-studio sound that you don’t get on a regular telephone. The only problem was this apparently was the maiden voyage for the system. Ken was popping his “p’s” occasionally, so I had to issue a helpful on-air hint to back off the mike a bit.

That said, he was good. Ken is one of those guys who becomes more candid and assured with each interview. He will be every bit as outspoken as his predecessor, Ed Gillespie, and he’s also a dazzling political strategist. Look for some very aggressive political action in support of the president’s agenda, and equally energetic efforts to transform once-reliable Democratic voting blocs into tried and true Republicans. Ken will also have some fun with his Democratic counterparts. No matter who next heads the Democratic Party, that person almost certainly will be at least 20 years older than Ken.

Finally, Greta Van Susteren dropped by — telephonically — to lament our shared and lousy predictions for the weekend’s National Football League playoff games. We both picked correctly in the Saturday games and incorrectly for Sunday. Thus chastened, we predicted wins next Sunday by New England in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at home against Atlanta.

Greta is girding herself for a three-hour Fox News Channel special on inaugural balls and celebrations. That will be tough work. Inaugural galas are large, unwieldy, noisy and wildly chaotic, except for the few moments when the president pops in and says hello. The events actually are better on television than in person. While there’s a kind of electricity to any inaugural gala, it’s like a high school prom taken to the 100th power. Everybody is gussied up, most want to make impressions on everybody else, a scary proportion of those in attendance act as if they’re having far more fun than they’re actually having or capable of having, and it takes approximately seven lifetimes to get to your car — as your sweat turns to ice in the nighttime cold and drear. Better to watch the proceedings on Fox News Channel. That’s what I’m going to do.

Today’s best letter comes from Marie. It speaks for itself:

“On Thursday or Friday of last week, you talked about Prince Harry and the swastika uniform. No problem there, but you went on to talk about the woman that Prince Charles is involved with and you said she looked like a horse.

I have to tell you those words took my breath away. How horrendous it is to say that about another human being. It is one thing to talk about the issues, but there was no reason to say something that mean and cruel about a person's physical attributes, no matter how they live or what they do in their lives.

I can't imagine you would ever allow your children to speak that way about another human being, and if you heard someone else speak that way in front of your children, I should think you would tell them to not say those things. You are better than that.

I hope it was a bad moment and not something that will be part and parcel of your radio shows. Do fly with the eagles and not walk with the turkeys... ”

Dear Marie,

You’re right. I’ll try not to do it anymore.

Finally, this is from Wilbur Noteboom, who files regular complaints about my moral fiber or lack thereof:

"I wonder how conservative talk show hosts like Tony Snow can honestly deny that they do everything in their power to promote war and hatred of anyone who doesn't believe molestation or killing is the only answer or solution for everything. They talk as if they were glad something like September 11 happened, when that's what they all seem to take such pride and pleasure doing. It says in the Bible that 'All have sinned.' I've always found it interesting how conservatives like Tony Snow seem to believe that doesn't apply to them. I wonder if they ever look in the mirror or listen to themselves. Judging by the way they always talk, apparently not."

Dear Wilbur,

Turn that frown upside down! Listen to the show – and then write – not the other way around!

Tony Snow

Holiday Dmitri provided writing and research for this blog.

Share your thoughts with Tony. E-mail him at tonysnow@foxnews.com.