Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The specter of Scott

Scott McClellan's new book "What Happened" has not even been released and already the left is abuzz. The administration must be thrilled to death. I'll reserve judgment about the contents for later but a few observations are possible at this point.

One, his tome will get more press and sell better than Doug Feith's, even though the latter was privy to more insider policy decisions/meetings and provided supporting documents. Two, as predicted by Stephen Hayes, McClellan's reputation will improve overnight, although there will be many who'll always consider him a tool of the devil no matter what. And three, he was not the press secretary during the run-up to war, Ari Fleischer was. Ari's book wasn't nearly as scathing despite his role in the Plame matter (he talked a lot about Helen Thomas). Fleischer remains a Bush supporter as to the importance of the war.

As to McClellan's smoking gun story about Rove and Libby meeting in the White House to discuss Plame strategy, that sounds rather hackish without supporting evidence. Nevertheless, Obama stands to benefit greatly from his insinuation especially since Rove is under Congressional subpoena. Frog-march hopes are still alive, lefties!

Meanwhile, Feith was not averse to bashing Bush as well--pointed out again by Power Line this morning--specifically for not sticking to his war rationale after the WMDs were not located. The left could certainly put two and two together and charge deception/war crimes/Satan worship if they so desired, yet for some reason Feith's book remains in the shadows. Probably all those inconvenient documents.

But overall if this book is as harsh as the previews the administration will have a tough time dismissing it. McClellan was an inner circle guy from Texas--probably like-minded on the religious front--and has known Bush a long time. While he wasn't privy to top level policy meetings like Feith he was in a better position to judge the man's personal reactions and style and that's what the media cares about.

But the pushback is fairly easy. If, as McClellan said, Bush was trying to impart change on the Middle East in reaction to 9/11 then simply blowing up terrorist camps in Afghanistan was not going to do it, he had to change the culture of the terror swamps. This simply could not be done with a man like Saddam Hussein (or his maniacal sons) in power, WMD or not. The only way to determine if he had WMD was to invade, but without the invasion nothing would have changed except perhaps the erosion of the no-fly zones and UN resolutions, which Saddam was busily subverting. The options were to allow Iraq to render the UN ineffective by continuing that practice while taking the chance he'd pass off his knowledge to like-minded proxies or, as Bush did, call the bluff.

MORE 5/29/08

Already McClellan's book has outdone anything Feith's "War and Peac, er Decision" will ever do. After all, who's interested in a book with facts and documents when they can pick one up full of innuendo, gossip and 20/20 hindsight?

McClellan's supporters are making the point it was all the nasty partisan pushback that pushed him back, ala this quote:
"People had high hopes for President Bush to bring America together after his election and after the attacks on 9/11. They felt disillusioned by the Administration's adoption of the 'win at all costs' partisan mentality in this town. I think the bigger point of Scott's book comes from the lessons he learned while playing a part in the permanent campaign. It's an exploration of how that mindset can lead to some really bad choices."
Let's get one thing straight off the bat--Bush was already flagging in popularity before 9/11, and the attack was always going to be just a blip in the polls for him. There were just too many enemies on the other side.

Turk seems to believe the Bushies are proving Scottie right by pushing back now--trashing the messenger to defend politics not principle. But in reality the push-back is natural and must occur. The left and to some extent the media have been on Bush's bad side since he was 'awarded' Florida.

Even now many high profile Democrats are trying to capitalize on this for all it's worth, ie, Wexler, ie, Pelosi, ie, the man of change himself, Barack.

McClellan doesn't seem to acknowledge the vent pipe of propaganda that has been swirling Bush's way from the get-go. F911, Loose Change, a plethora of anti-war movies, the recent HBO movie "Recount" and even the mini-series "Andromeda Strain", which was chock full of needlessly nauseating left-wing messagespeak. It's literally a juggernaut if left unchallenged. Rove knew it, which is why he pushed back, which is why they went after him so damned hard. Bush is no Reagan and never had the luxury of making an end run around the press and right to the peeps.

To some extent Scottie sounds a little naive or perhaps mildly arrogant by thinking the Bush gang could ever transform DC into something that hasn't existed since George Washington was in charge. The kitchen is hot, for better or worse. It's a hardball town, but the issues are too important to ever give up.

FINI 5/29/08

Watching McClellan on Olbermann was an exercise in the bizarre. Here we have the most divisive partisan blockhead on the planet, one who ripped Scottie a new rear exit portal when he left the White House, discussing the pitfalls of partisanship in DC. This is a man who refuses to have opposition opinion on his show for balance (like Fox) drooling about McClellan's remarks like some kind of Big Bad Wolf of broadcasting. Yet McClellan made him look like the fool he is when he reminded Keith of that Bush DID have a Democrat on the cabinet--Norm Minetta.


Debbie said...

All this publicity will sell books...

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Anonymous said...

Mr. McClellan’s obvious outrage at the depth and breath of the administration’s fraud, lies, and deceit might have prompted him to resign in disgust. It didn’t. Please, let us overlook the fact that a George Soros company published Mr. McClellan’s work and hope that some day in the next thirty or so years, he might find gainful employment – although I cannot imagine doing what. I wouldn’t hire him.

A.C. McCloud said...

I'm very interested in seeing how he comes across on Olbermann (meaning I'll have to watch it--but I'll be flipping channels a lot).

Thing is, if he's accusing the Bush admin of propaganda what does that say about Downing Street and Blair?
Tony was onboard with Bill back in 1998/Desert Fox.