Press flack commits honesty; White House "Sad", "Shocked"
Scott McClellan, former press secretary and privy to the daily goings on in the Bush White House, has committed the unpardonable sin (unlike perjury and obstruction of justice, which will get you pardoned) of speaking the truth.
And in this case, it's only a confirmation of what nearly the entire population of the world already knew, that Bush has fatal character flaws, that the White House ran an concerted campaign to manipulate the facts and draw us into an unnecessary war. (and that Rove, Bush, and Cheney were up to their necks in criminal actions around the Valerie Plame affair.)
Of course, as always, this brings on an enevitible massive campaign to attack, smear, demean, and acribe any sort of negative motive to the person daring to tell the truth as they saw it, never mind that it dove-tails perfectly with what all the evidence shows anyway. But the smears and attacks from the Republicans have been going on all day today and will no doubt become more coordinated and wide-spread as the days go by in what will inevitably be a futile attempt to deny the obvious, that McClellan is telling the truth.
Like every sleaze-bag politician, large or small, who's revealed to be stupid, corrupt, or criminal, the first thing they do is try to suggest the truth-teller is "disgruntled" in hopes that somehow that is reason enough to not believe the facts.
Never mind in fact, that the very politicians doing the attacking engage in lying in retalitation against perceived enemies on nearly a daily basis. When it comes to hypocrisy, these pols are masters.
This is goofy to begin with. First of all, how would they know if the person is "disgruntled"? They might be as gruntled as all get out. Secondly, if someone is pissed off about their treatment at a job, does that automatically mean that he or she isn't capable of telling things absolutely honestly?
This attack is based on the fact that, even if every word is true, if someone says it because they're pissed off at the subject, it therefore should be dismissed entirely. Completely false of course, but it's all they've got. This of course te House began immediately.
Of course, you'll rarely hear anyone deny the facts of the book, just personal attacks on McClellan and trying to attack his motives.
Then there's the cheapest and easiest and most boringly common attack, that he's just "doing it for the money". That cheap and lazy shot always comes with the territory.
McClellans predecesor Ari Fleisher advanced the argument that if McClellan didn't like repeatedly lying to the press and public, then he shouldn't have taken the job as White House press secretary to begin with. Following this lead, Republican flacks are saying that if things were as bad as McClellan reveals, then why didn't he quit?
This is rather stupid, as clearly McClellan didn't know at the time that much of what he was sent out to say were blatant, pre-meditated lies.
When a guy like McClellan, who was by many accounts over his head when he was thrust into the role of press secretary during a very dicey period of the Bush administration upon the resignation of the utterly slimy Ari Fleisher, he's most likely paddling as fast as he can just to keep up and deal with his duties. I'm not sure it would occur to him to suddenly quit right when the administration needed him most.
And if he had done that, these flying monkeys would be the first to blast him as disloyal and a traitor for doing so.
They also seem fond of saying that it's terrible for any White House employee to ever tell the truth after their stint there. It's just not done, they say, and really is a sign of bad character. No one's ever done that before, I've heard said more than once.
Well, I thought, what about little George Stephanopolis, who penned a tell-all book complete with revelations about the Clinton White House almost a minute after he left the White House? And since, he's cashed in on his former position to make literally hundreds of millions of dollars. Guess some flacks have a short memory.
One right wing hack said McClellan's book "makes me sick". Yeah, I'm sure honesty would do that for these sorts of folks. It's like kryptonite to them. The truth is their biggest fear, and they must be quaking in their boots at the thought that more of it may be forthcoming.
Already a slew of books have been published by various Bush flacks, with nearly all of them devoted to trying to cover their own asses for their roles in the utter disaster of this administration. At least McClellan accepts responsibility for his deeds and seems to have written this book for more laudible motives. As he puts it, he did it simply so that the American people can have the truth, something which of course brands him as some sort of freakish monster among the Bush crowd.
In what appears to be an effort to get right with God, McClellan repeats what has been stated here for years, namely,
History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided — that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.
Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake. But in reflecting on all that happened during the Bush administration, I’ve come to believe that an even more fundamental mistake was made — a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.
Most of our elected leaders in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike, are good and decent people. Yet too many of them today have made a practice of shunning truth and the high level of openness and forthrightness required to discover it. Most of it is not willful or conscious. Rather it is part of the modern Washington game that has become the accepted norm.
As I explain in this book, Washington has become the home of the permanent campaign, a game of endless politicking based on the manipulation of shades of truth, partial truths, twisting of the truth, and spin. Governing has become an appendage of politics rather than the other way around, with electoral victory and the control of power as the sole measures of success. That means shaping the narrative before it shapes you. Candor and honesty are pushed to the side in the battle to win the latest news cycle.
Of course, deception in politics is nothing new. What’s new is the degree to which it now permeates our national political discourse.
On the "liberal press" as "complicit enablers":
"In the fall of 2002, Bush and his White house were engaging in a carefully-orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval to our advantage. We'd done much the same on other issues--tax cuts and education--to great success. But war with Iraq was different. Beyond the irreversible human costs and substantial financial price, the decision to go to war and the way we went about selling it would ultimately lead to increased polarization and intensified partisan warfare. Our lack of candor and honesty in making the case for war would later provoke a partisan response from our opponents that, in its own way, further distorted and obscured a more nuanced reality. Another cycle of deception would cloud the public's ability to see larger, underlying important truths that are critical to understand in order to avoid the same problems in the future.
"And through it all, the media would serve as complicit enablers. Their primary focus would be on covering the campaign to sell the war, rather than aggressively questioning the rationale for war or pursuing the truth behind it… the media would neglect their watchdog role, focusing less on truth and accuracy and more on whether the campaign was succeeding. Was the president winning or losing the argument? How were Democrats responding? What were the electoral implications? What did the polls say? And the truth--about the actual nature of the threat posed by Saddam, the right way to confront it, and the possible risks of military conflict--would get largely left behind…"
McClellan writes that while he thinks most reporters are personally liberal, the "vast majority--including those in the White House press corps--are honest, fair-minded and professional" when it comes to letting their political biases impact their coverage.
"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should have never come as such a surprise. The public should have been made much more aware, before the fact, of the uncertainties, doubts, and caveats that underlay the intelligence about the regime of Saddam hussein. The administration did little to convey those nuances to the people, the press should have picked up the slack but largely failed to do so because their focus was elsewhere--on covering the march to war, instead of the necessity of war.
"In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."
Scott McClellan, former key cog in the Bush deception machine, now trying to balance his moral books and avoid a ticket to hell. Thank goodness that when removed from the atmosphere of the Bush crowd, some people actually have the ability to regenerate their sense of honesty and morality.