Posted by: Jim | May 28, 2008

The Misadventures of a Clothing-less Emperor

Scott McClellan, who was once the mouthpiece of the White House, is publishing a tell-all and is apparently throwing Bush under the bus.

A Press Secretary’s role is crucial, and one of the most visible roles in any administration. Typically Press Secretaries are people who have proven themselves by being credible, scrutable, and honest. So it’s not surprising that someone who exhibits these qualities would resign the office after having to be the front man for an organization that was patently deceitful. It’s also not surprising that this person would write a memoir to set the record straight. If that had been me, I would have to set the record straight so I could look myself in the mirror at the end of the day.

After what we’ve experienced over the past 7.5 years, it should not be surprising that the White House’s response to this expose’ is a mewling, indirect denial that anything untoward ever happened. But it is.

“Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House,” Perino said. “For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew.”

If Dana Perino weren’t so lovably hot and doable, I would castigate her mercilessly. But since I will probably never have a shot at her, I think I will anyway.

Dana’s reaction is condescending–as if McClellan has fallen ill. It’s as if Scott has taken leave of his senses and is just trying to make some money on a book to support his growing Crystal Meth habit. The surprising thing is that she thinks people actually buy it. She assumes that people are still susceptible to every chicanery spun by the White House; she is still drinking her own kool-aid! Any 3rd-grader who applies Occam’s Razor to this little he-said/she-said dilemma would end up with the following choices:

1. McClellan is telling the truth about the White House deceiving the US in the lead-up to the Iraq War.
2. The White House is telling the truth about McClellan, and told the truth about the Iraq War.

Hmmmmm. Which one is more likely? I suppose the White House is hard-pressed to come up with a good response to this dilemma. So they’ve tasked Dana with the enviable task of swaying public opinion by saying “Poor Scott, we used to love him so, but now he’s sinking pretty low.”

Telling the truth is sinking low? Next thing you know McClellan will be having gay sex! Along those lines, let me quote Jesus: “It’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that corrupts him, but what comes out of it.”

And while I’m at it: “Your sins will find you out. ”

They find it “puzzling” that an “intimate” of the President would blow the whistle. While it is a reasonable expectation that an intimate should keep his mouth closed about extremely sensitive information, it is also a reasonable expectation that the President will not have the Press Secretary lie to the world about entering an unwinnable war (or any of the long list of other lies that McClellan had to spout.) But a hapless President is apparently not the issue–a retired staffer with loose lips apparently is.

So while it may be a precedent for a staffer to keep his mouth closed about what went on, does this precedent cover even the most egregious of transgressions? What is the precedent when a White House deceives its own Press Secretary into lying to the world? Scott McClellelan just set it. And it is a good precedent to set.

I love America, but this is so utterly American.


  1. See? Told you Bush shoulda picked Todd as his press secretary.

    I’m only looking out for the best interests of the country. And of Todd.

    * * *

  2. Latest poll shows that Todd’s approval rating of Bush remains higher than Bush approval rating of himself.

    Stuck on 100 for the 7th year running.

  3. I write the best blog posting in months, and all you guys can come up with are barbs aimed at Todd?

    It’s enough to give a guy a complex …

  4. Here’s a non-Todd related comment:

    Jim, hon, it seems that you may have more regard for Scott McClellan than I have. If he had any integrity, why stay with the administration for nearly three years after being asked to lie on such a consistent basis, and to lie so very badly at that? Especially when lives were literally at stake?

    I find him to be nothing more than a weasel who is looking to make a quick buck while Bush is still in office, since his book would arguably sell better now than the same time next year. From what I’ve read, there are no new revelations that would shake our beliefs in Bush et al. to their cores.

    Mind you, letting folks know even more about the chicanery afoot in the Bush Administration is always a good thing in my book, but I subscribe no noble motives to McClellan in “wanting to set the record straight.”

    Still, Perrino’s comment is true idiocy and condescension of the first degree.


  5. I don’t think Scott will be getting a lot out of his confessional. In fact, I would wager he risked his life to publish this book. He also risked the glad-handing he could have continued getting by all the fat cats in the Military Industrial Complex and the MSM who have profitted tremendously by this war. He would have had a very fat income for the rest of his life as a consultant. Now he is a pariah, and no one will fucking touch him for ever and ever, amen.

    I do not think Scott will end up better off for publishing this. I may be wrong, but let’s check back in a few years. Scott will be a nothing. A zero. And he will not have made millions by publishing this book. You know why? Because everyone already knows what he is saying in the book. Why buy it?

    I think he published this book to clear his own conscience. Here is a guy who can’t look himself in the mirror because it was HIS lies that talked Americans into sending their sons and daughters off to get their arms and legs and heads blown off.
    I am open to contrary evidence of this, but he is saying he believed the lies he told at the time he told them. Now he feels like a piece of shit, and is falling on his sword to try and clear his name.

    The guy was seriously connected, and was set for life. He won’t be now …

  6. I’ll admit that I have no evidence to the contrary that McClellan believed the lies that he was being told. My gut tells me that he’s saying that to make his late admissions more palatable (i.e., lying about buying the administration’s falshoods), but without evidence I don’t see that there’s any point in debating the issue.

    I’ll also admit that you have a point about McClellan being a pariah amongst the right-wing and the Military Industrial Complex which could have given him a fat salary had he kept his mouth shut. But, once again, my gut says that there’s more here than we know, even at this late stage, and, while McClellan may not be as weaselly/opportunistic as I believe that he is, neither do I think that he has quite as much integrity as you appear to think he has.

    But my gut ain’t evidence of anything other than a fondness for sweet and salty carbs. 🙂

  7. “there’s more here than we know”

    That is a sure bet.

    And you are right, we are both going by our “gut feel.” McClellan does seem kinda weaselly … but we will just have to wait and see. We may never know.

  8. Well, as weaselly as McClellan might be, he’s still got a long way to go to out-weasel Robert McNamara, who waited more than 30 years to write HIS tell-all “yeah we totally fucked up in Vietnam and we knew we were doing it but we kept doing it cuz it was fun and profitable, sorry.”

    He wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know either, but he made sure it was all ancient history before he told it.

    McClellan, on the other hand, as Jim astutely pointed out, is stepping in some rather fresh shit that won’t easily come off his shoes, and for that I give him some serious props.

    I still say that instead of writing a book, he should have used his proximity to the Reich to REALLY betray them all with a couple of well-placed Claymores before shooting himself, thus becoming a Hero For The Ages. That would have showed some REAL remorse for the bloody handprint that has replaced the Great Seal in this administration. But if all we can get is a book that pisses off the ‘cons, then I’ll take it. A weaselly pang of conscience is better than none at all.

    Hell, any time a Wermacht Conservabot actually stumbles into the slightest contact with that thing they call a ‘soul’, somewhere a bell rings and an angel gets its wings.

    * * *

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