Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scott McClellan

What's your opinion of Scott McClellan?

I was intrigued to learn this evening (thanks again to NPR) about Scott McClellan’s new book about the Bush administration. You'll remember that McClellan was Bush's press secretary. He's the one who appeared at all the White House briefings. In his new book, according to reports, McClellan says that Bush “was not open and forthright on Iraq”; that the president sold the war through a "political propaganda campaign"; that Bush took a permanent campaign approach to governing; and that the White House mishandled Hurricane Katrina, both governmentally and politically.

I don't doubt any of this. In fact, many of us have believed just these things about Bush and his occupation of the office formerly occupied by elected Presidents who believed in the Constitution.

But here's what I want to know. How long did McClellan serve as press secretary? And how long did he trot out Bush's propaganda (a.k.a. lies) while standing behind that fancy White House podium? And, thus, how can McClellan be viewed as anything other than a whore for drawing his big fat paycheck while spreading Bush's lies?

My friend Lane Denson (priest in Tennessee) manages to be less livid than I.


Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

Unfortunately, I never met Lane Denson---but it was St. Ann's that brought me into the Episcopal fold. God love 'em!

Don't know how I feel about McClellan. While it is easy to brand him as a money-hungry publicity hound, I can't help but wonder if maybe he's trying to make amends for what he did by telling the truth now. The price he will pay is certainly high---he staked his career on this bunch and he's betrayed them. He's burned his bridges well and truly---and, for that, I have to give him some props.

5/29/2008 12:20 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

You're very kind, Doxy. I don't know what salary the White House Press Secretary makes. But I can't see McClellan as anything but a two-bit [or maybe $20,000/month] whore. It stretches credulity to think he didn't realize this stuff while he was feeding at the GOP pig-trough.

Yep! I am one angry Democrat.

5/29/2008 12:44 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

BTW, I haven't "met" Lane, either. But I sure enjoy being his pen-pal.

5/29/2008 12:45 AM  
Blogger FranIAm said...

Doxy sees this through more benevolent eyes than I can - and that does help me.

Mostly I find myself angry and in pain.

He took the paychecks, he spoke the words, the lies. Now he writes a book that is poised to make money.

I hate to be cynical and I know that I am being that way here.

You see, my own background of abuse - and subsequent forgiveness and reconciliation - gives me my viewpoint.

There is a fine line between someone who is part of a sick system saying "I'm sorry" as a continuation of that sickness, a lame apology.

So in my experience, I will say that I must watch what transpires over time to see if this is real or if it is not.

Right now I still feel so bitterly angry and part of that is due to watching the HBO film Recount. It upset me so much more than I would have imagined.

As with all things, time will tell.

Thanks for putting this up in such a thoughtful way. You (and our beautiful Doxy) got me to look at it slightly differently, with new eyes.

That is a gift.

Still Steaming but open to grace...

5/29/2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

When one is "inside the bunker," one is naturally inclined to join in the group-think. Thus, the credibility of a falsehood is enhanced by the support of those who, to varying degrees, may not even realize it is false.

Thus it becomes possible for some "conservatives" to assert that all the rest of us do't believe in sin or don't take the Bible seriously because the falsehood is repeated with such mindnumbing regularity that it comes to be an accepted truism of the metanarrative. And, ironically, it will continue to influence behaviour and opinion even after it's credibility is destroyed and its mendacity proven.

(When I reread that, I wonder if I'm trying to up your readability score to "postgraduate.")

So a group of people all utter the same falsehood. Technically, only some of them are lying. The rest - probably the majority - are merely misled, and are not inclined to question the veracity of the metanarrative.

I don't know if Scott McClellan is honestly repented or if he's merely trying to sell books. But the condemnation of the former supporter is a particularly powerful indictment.

5/29/2008 10:36 AM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

I totally agree that amendment of life will be the proof of the pudding.

But here's how I was looking at it---he's young, and he could have worked for some rich Repug firm and made money hand over fist for years to come. He would also have had the ability to rub elbows with what passes for the glitterati in the GOP.

No one from that bunch will ever hire him again. And "our side" (if I may be so bold as to put it that way...) will never trust him.

I realize that the American public has a short memory---but the people who can make or break your career do not. And he won't sell enough books to keep him in clover for the rest of his life---I predict this one will be remaindered pretty quickly.

So that's why I'm tempted to believe he feels betrayed by BushCo, and this is his attempt to make amends.

OCICBW...and frequently am. ;-)

5/29/2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I've been grateful for your comments. And I was surprised and impressed this evening by Scott McClellan's interview on the PBS Newshour. McClellean regularly used "I" and "we" statements. He admits: "We portrayed ...," "We went off the tracks ...," and "We were caught up ...." In those statements, he seems to admit that he was carried away on the Bush contrail. Also see the Shields and Brooks commentary immediately after the interview.

So ... maybe I'll be a little more gentle. Seeing what I saw today, I'm willing to believe he was a True Believer who has now come to his senses.


5/30/2008 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Lindy said...

It's hard in politics. When you are in the campaign/administration that is the world and, really, people who aren't in that world don't know what they're talking about. I understand where Scott is coming from. I think he's shown enormous courage in breaking faith with his fellow colleagues -- of course, they hung him out a long time ago. I see some revenge here too. I admire him.

I heard the book wasn't that good of a read. Too bad.

5/30/2008 7:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for those comments, Lindy.

I, too, work in a political office. I'm not in the "inner circle." But I certainly see the fervor of the Inner Circle. So I'm now a little more sympathetic toward McClellan.

5/30/2008 8:35 PM  

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