“Snow seems like a more than competent guy,” says a Finance Committee staffer. “He was much more on topic than O’Neill, which is an improvement. Still, he’s got to go a lot further to prove he’s the guy to really sell Wall Street and Americans on the White House policies.”
Snow impressed the White House and Republican leaders on the Hill with his quick study and strong handle on the Bush economic plans and policies when he went to Capitol Hill last week to lobby on behalf of the administration. Snow had been heavily briefed for his confirmation hearings, then briefed again for his additional appearances on the Hill to discuss the Bush administration’s plans.
“Over the past few weeks you can just see the relief with Snow around,” says the Finance staffer. “He’s not going to hang around with Bono or go off the reservation. But he’s old-style Republican establishment. You just can’t see him with his shirtsleeves rolled up speaking in Iowa on behalf of the White House.”
The White House seems to understand that, too. The reality was that under the circumstances — tough economy, uncertain policy implementation over the next year — they weren’t going to find a hot, comparatively young Robert Rubin type to front for them at Treasury. Instead, they found a man who can manage the department and talk about the issues without making anyone at 1600 nervous.
And the White House’s pick for Treasury seems to be paying off. Career Treasury staffers report their new boss has made life for them easier than under O’Neill, who was known to stick his head into their offices and demand that they clean them up.
As for pushing the White House policies in the states, the White House plans on putting Bush out there on a number of occasions over the next month, and will be looking to Commerce Secretary Don Evans to do more of the heavy lifting.
“Evans hasn’t been out there as often as perhaps he should have been,” says a White House political staffer. “But we’re going to have to use him now. We need him.”p> ONE SHOT POLITICS