Chait is right, as even some of the president's supporters have noted, that the White House spin machine has an awful veneer overtop a shabby PR product.
His characterization of Ari Fleischer, though, is so ironically ungenerous (heaping praise on his stone-faced ability to lie, for example) that one might forget Joe Lockhart's incredible ability to dissemble in oddly hyperventilated monotone. For that matter, think back to the days when Mike McCurry was basically forced to announce to the press that he had nothing to say on various matters of some public interest because the president had to be cautious not to prejudice the lies he might need to tell under oath. In fact, McCurry would say, the administration isn't even really talking to me right now. Here's the president's schedule for this week. I consider myself something of a cynic, but I remember being shocked at the brazenness of the strategy.