Friday, June 20, 2008

McClellan hearings

Scott McClellan had his day in the sunshine today in front of his newfound friends in Congress. Not surprisingly, there were no bombshells. Close followers of the case weren't surprised--new revelations would have been in the book. This was pure theater.

The court of kangaroo was held under the guise of learning more about the Valerie Plame issue but turned out to be primarily a vehicle for lesser-known Congresspeople to bash Bush on national TV. Ironically, the very reason McClellan claims to have bailed on the Bushies--their succumbing to the Washington political meatgrinder culture--was on display in its full glory today.

The only thing we learned new about the matter was that Scooter wasn't brutally honest about his role in the leak (technically he was not involved in the leak to Novak). But little else of value was revealed. Heck, we're still waiting for Plame to identify "walk by guy", of which Conyers and company have absolutely no curiosity about whatsoever.

Let me say I think McClellan is probably a decent man. My sense is he came from Texas with Bush, probably idolizing the man who was going to "change" Washington only to see the reality of politics take over when the admin used him to hit back on the Joe Wilson affair. That probably made him rethink his view on Iraq on the way out the door when combined with the state of the war today and the men and women lost to it.

Example, his greatest disdain was saved for Karl Rove, even though he admitted to having known him since the early 90s. That means he knew Rove was a political operative back then. To express shock that a political operative would engage in partisan politics during a crisis is either deeply idealistic naviete or represents a misunderstanding of politics itself, especially since Wilson's "Bush lied" train was gaining steam at that time. But perhaps it's the same phenomena that has drawn millions to a charismatic unexperienced underachiever named Barack Obama, who's promised to "change" DC. Hope springs eternal, thank heavens.

Here's a quote for your consideration:
Both parties engaged in what now would be termed negative campaigning, an assault on their adversary’s program and leadership rather than an emphasis on their own platform. Federalists, for instance, left no stone unturned in their attempts to link the Republicans with the bloody excesses of the French Revolution. Jefferson and his adherents, they charged, embraced the same “cant of jacobinical illiberality” as their radical friends in France;… (page 151)
This from the book "Adams versus Jefferson". It's safe to say that if this partisan bickering was going on at the beginning of the republic it ain't gonna be ending anytime soon. To expect someone, anyone, to be able to "change" this culture is well-intentioned but blindingly unrealistic. Bush has always seemed more a pragmatist than an idealist.

But the headlines tell the tale...

New York Times: McClellan Testifies on C.I.A. Leak
Washington Post: McClellan Criticizes White House
LA Times: McClellan testifies he was wary of Libby's leak denial but went along
Chicago Sun Times: no headline found
Drudge Report (AP): SPOTLIGHT: Ex-press secretary decries 'secretive' White House...
CNN: McClellan: Cheney should testify on CIA leak, the stunt was a big failure. Actually, when blogger "Emptywheel" comes off as disappointed then it was definitely a dud.

Perhaps the Dems figured that might occur when they scheduled it to coincide with their voting on the FISA reauthorization bill. Both occurred on a Friday afternoon, surely a coincidence, ahem. McClellan must be outraged.


normalice said...

Yeah. I don't really understand why they are going on about the CIA leak. I mean... of all things you could burn the Bush Administration for... of all the people they have caused devastating harm to, they pick out just one person... a former CIA member!

A.C. McCloud said...

Well it is kinda funny to see the left so embrace the CIA after all these years of blind hate (sorry I recently watched Redford in 3 Days of the Condor).