Friday, May 30, 2008

Who is Scott McClellan and Why is He (Now) Saying These Things About Us?

That is the question being asked by Bush loyalists now that Scott McClellan's new book is about to hit the bookstore shelves and the turd blossoms are hitting the fan with a loud thudding sound. And why are Bush's sycophants getting so worked up over all this? As the Huffington Post reports, McClellan's book was common knowledge -- even amonst them -- for at least a month before it was scheduled to begin hitting our nation's bookshelves.

Given the hysterical partisan attacks on McClellan's memoir, Bob Herbert was quick to assert in the New York Times, "Forget that this is supposed to be a government of, by and for the people, and that the truth is supposed to matter. Mr. McClellan is being denounced as a traitor by those who readily accept the culture of deception, and who believe that a government official’s primary loyalty is not to the people, but to power itself — in this case, to the president."

But even as Bush's sycophanic choir was singing "Scotty, we thought we knew ye," amid a scathing unison chant of "Judas" (read: betrayer),the erectile-dysfunctional Bob Dole fired off a scathing e-mail to McClellan, stating:

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues...No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."

Even as the rhetorical hit parade keeps jabbing away, Peggy Noonan points out in the Wall Street Journal, "The right will—already has—pummel him for disloyalty. But those damning him today would have damned him even more if he'd resigned on principle three years ago. They — and the administration — would have beaten him to a pulp, the former from rage, the latter as a lesson: This is what happens when you leave and talk...And Americans in general have a visceral and instinctive dislike for what (Matt) Drudge called a snitch. This is our tradition, and also human nature."

Even so, Noonan is able to grasp one of the core truths inherent in McClellan's book:

His primary target is Karl Rove, whose role he says was "political manipulation, plain and simple." He criticizes as destructive the 50-plus-1 strategy that focused on retaining power through appeals to the base at the expense of a larger approach to the nation. He blames Mr. Rove for sundering the brief post-9/11 bipartisan entente when he went before an open Republican National Committee meeting in Austin, four months after 9/11, and said the GOP would make the war on terror the top issue to win the Senate and keep the House in the 2002 campaign. By the spring the Democratic Party and the media were slamming back with charges the administration had been warned before 9/11 of terrorist plans and done nothing. That war has continued ever since.

Needless to say, Andrew Sullivan does not refer to Karl Rowe as "One of the most lethal poisons ever injected into the political bloodstream" for nothing.

And even as the loose cannons amongst the wing-nuts continue to keep firing away, blogger Timothy Karrwas quick to point out yet another, more potentially embarrassing angle to this story:

"For all the press attention swirling around Scott McClellan's explosive tell-all, there's a brewing back story that's making Katie Couric and Charles Gibson squirm. And they're not alone.

Few were surprised that McClellan's book exposed a Bush administration "political propaganda campaign" that mislead the American public about the war in Iraq. Some question the former press secretary's loyalty and timing, but no one -- with the obvious exception of the White House and its apologists -- questions the factual basis of his claim.

But McClellan takes it one further, implicating mainstream media for its role in "enabling" this propaganda. "The national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House" in spreading the president's case for the war, McClellan writes. The mainstream media didn't live up to its watchdog reputation. "If it had, the country would have been better served."

This should be a shock to everyone. The president's own spokesman (whose hands aren't clean by any means) lays a large share of the blame for Bush's pro-war propaganda on the media's "deferential" treatment of White House spin.
But consider this: many in the media still refuse to admit that they were anything but dogged in challenging the White House's case for the war after September 11. Some, however, are starting to see things differently.

Not surprisingly, McClellan's Secret Service code name was "Matrix." And as Arianna Huffington sardonically notes, "As any Keanu Reaves fan will tell you, the Matrix is a simulated reality used to pacify and subdue the human population in a dystopian future."

Needless to say, Arianna doesn't call him "Scotty Come Lately" for nothing.

Which comes back to why McClellan went into Augustinian mode in the first place. In the chain of events that led up to the Iraqi war, Bush acted like a snarky character straight out of a movie western who riles up a mob into lynching mode. And even as many were eager and willing to jump in, many more chose to look the other way. Meanwhile, a cowardly supine press corps accepted this at face value, while anyone who dared to stand in the mob's way were targed for retribution.

When I say this, think about the reprisals meted out to Bill Maher and Helen Thomas for daring to question and confront those in power. How about Valerie Plame, whose life and career were jeopardized for cheap partisan political gain when her husband Joseph Wilson had the audacity to publicly question the veracity of the Bush administration's WMD allegations? And Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector who was victimized by a bogus child-molestation charge? Or Sibel Edmonds, the patriotic FBI whistle-blower who was gagged legally and prevented from speaking truth to power?

We as a nation have been living in a massive bout of post-traumatic stress disorder since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we allowed a bunch of neocon-men and their enablers to take advantage of a precarious situation and make it much worse. We are now suffering the consequences of bad judgments begetting even even worse happenstances, and Scotty Come Lately was part of the problem. Call it Stockholm Syndrome or whatever, but McClellan was an adult who obtained what my foster parent Arthur Martin called the age of accountability long ago, and he should have conducted himself as such. Clearly, he was old enough to understand right from wrong and to act conscienciously on principle, but has failed to do so. The way I see it, to paraphrase a famous Mae West quote, if you don't speak up for yourself, you'll end up as a rug. Not surprisingly, Gail Collins was quick to point out in the New York Times, "Even now, McClellan still appears to have trouble with the critical concept that deeds matter more than words."

Frankly, we should have learned all these lessons long ago from what we've experienced during the McCarthy witch-hunts and the Holocaust, to name two recent examples. Amd the sooner we come to our senses and do something about it, the better.

In closing, think of this passage from Matthew 18: 12-14:

"How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray."

In the meantime, over four thousand troops have died for George W. Bush's sins, both political and otherwise, and the body count keeps rising.

If Geroge W. did to Laura what he's done to the country.

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