Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 30, 2008
By: Hilzoy

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER...

ABC News:

"In an encounter last night in the lobby of a New York Hotel, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan apologized for denouncing a former White House colleague, Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism advisor, after Clarke wrote a book highly critical of the Bush administration in 2004.

Now McClellan is facing a similar denunciation from the White House for his own highly critical book.

"I should have known how personal it would get when they went after me, well, I mean, after what I said about you", Clarke says McClellan told him in the lobby of New York's Essex House.

"I think I can forgive you now", Clarke says he replied.

"I'd like to ask you to", McClellan reportedly answered."

I have mixed feelings about McClellan. As best I can tell, what changed his mind about the Bush administration was having Rove and Libby completely destroy his credibility (what there was of it) by lying to his face so that he could repeat their lies in public. That was, in fact, a terrible thing to do. But, as this encounter makes clear, it's not as though McClellan didn't know that people were having their good name savaged by the White House. It's not even as though he had not willingly participated in that savaging. But he never seems to have thought that it could happen to him.

That's a hard thing, and part of me sympathizes. But another part thinks: you should figure out what's wrong with trashing someone and destroying his credibility when you do it to someone else. You shouldn't have to wait until it happens to you.

That said, better late than never, I guess. I can only hope that some of the people who once defended this administration are open-minded enough to notice how many erstwhile members of the Bush administration have come out with memoirs saying essentially the same thing, and how the administration trots out essentially the same talking points against all of them. You'd think that if so many ex-White House people were "disgruntled former employees", that might raise questions about whether something in the White House had given them cause to be disgruntled. And you might wonder why, if all of them had somehow gone insane or been eaten up by bitterness or were trying for massive book payments, they all came out with the same set of criticisms.

One can only hope.

Hilzoy 12:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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Comments

How reasonable of you. He's still a tool, and Clarke is a bigger man than I.

Posted by: craigie on May 30, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sociopaths and narcissists. What do you expect?

Posted by: Everyman on May 30, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

After helping sell one set of lies, the man is shocked, shocked! that he was lied to by his masters?

No compassion. No forgiveness. The man helped those in power to thoroughly screw us and our future.

It all depends on what your definition of "scum" is.

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

It appears that the disgruntle virus is just as contagious as the bubonic plague.

Should we all start wearing face masks now?

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy: "But he never seems to have thought that it could happen to him."

Herein lies the principal difference between the conservative and liberal basis for ethics. Liberals can empathize in the abstract, without having to have something literally happen to them. That's why, for instance, while I've never been poor I support a welfare system for those who are less fortunate. But conservatives have to actually experience poverty, a health care crisis, loss of a job, etc. before they can appreciate someone else's predicament. I don't know if they are born without an adequate capacity for empathy, or if it's lack of imagination or something else.
____________________________________________

Posted by: Aris on May 30, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt McClellan is Texan scum, but Tony Snow was worse and Ari Fleischer embodied Mephistopholes.

"Yes, thou findest that unpleasant!
Thou hast the moral right to cry me "shame!" at present.
One dares not that before chaste ears declare,
Which chaste hearts, notwithstanding, cannot spare;
And, once for all, I grudge thee not the pleasure
Of lying to thyself in moderate measure.
But such a course thou wilt not long endure;
Already art thou o'er-excited,
And, if it last, wilt soon be plighted
To madness and to horror, sure."

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

If he was so interested in telling the truth, he could have just set up a microphone at the Hilton and let it rip.

Instead, he took several years to work through his feelings and, OH YEAH, get a big book deal out of it.

He's got his bag of silver now. Can we bury him with the rest of the war criminals? I suggest putting him in the cell with Tariq Aziz. They were just following orders, right?

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on May 30, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is unfair to expect Scott McClellan to have sacrificed his position in the White House. It would have been heroic of him to do so, but most of the ordinary mortals are not made of steel. In any case given the environment existing at the time, even if he had resigned during that time, he would have been savaged by the right wing.

Come to think of it, it seems to me that the timing of his breaking rank is perfect: if he had done it earlier when he was in the employ of the White House, they would have probably 'found' some child porn on his PC and have branded him as a child molester.

Posted by: gregor on May 30, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I don't give a crap about Scott. He's a whore, and now he knows that he is a whore.

What's important is that he supplies more ammunition. He has said the truth, and Grampa McSenile cannot hide: Iraq was sold by a pack of lies.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 30, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Aris: ..."conservatives have to actually experience poverty, a health care crisis, loss of a job, etc. before they can appreciate someone else's predicament. I don't know if they are born without an adequate capacity for empathy, or if it's lack of imagination or something else."

Exactly. Can't be said better.

Posted by: Everyman on May 30, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy: "But he never seems to have thought that it could happen to him."

That's because he thought he was part of the team -- a historic player on the inside creating history. Then he found out that the real players considered him just another disposable lackey to use up and throw out.

Must've been quite a revelation.

Posted by: Greg VA on May 30, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Go to Josh Marshall and check out the McClellan highlights video. The man was a merciless tool for the crap the administration was spouting, and he knew it.

Posted by: on May 30, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

And you might wonder why, if all of them had somehow gone insane or been eaten up by bitterness or were trying for massive book payments, they all came out with the same set of criticisms.

Haven't you seen the new excuse? George Soros made them do it.

Posted by: DonBoy on May 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

It all depends on what your definition of "scum" is.

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008

I would posit that a good definition of scum is a person who fries their cat. (Check your entry on the thread with the picture.)

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

The NRO put it nicely: "a shameful end to an undistinguished career."

Whatever happened to resigning on principle? Where did people get the idea that it was OK to take the honor and benefits that come with serving a President (or a corporation or any other institution), and then turn around and sell out your former boss for profit?

What do honorable people do? See, e.g., Colin Powell.

Posted by: DBL on May 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Scott McClellan reminds me of the fat kid who eats the dog shit because the cool kids tell him to. Instead of getting the approval he seeks, the cool kids only give him an even harder time. Repeat step 1.

Posted by: absent observer on May 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I too have imagined that, after some 20 odd repetitions or so, this whole pretense of discovering "Dear Lord! We've harbored a traitor in our midst!" would kinda fall apart under its own absurdity. I mean, just the shear number of people with apparently impeccable credentials serving Bush, the GOP, or both parties over decades in political life, who suddenly reveal themselves to have been closet ax-grinding fanatical Libruls all along, asps in the very bosom of conservatism, hatching long thought out plots to Get George Bush while enriching themselves and Hogging the Spotlight--is ridiculous on its face. Has there ever been a president so hounded by dastardly traitors in his government? You'd think even the wingnuts themselves would start to wonder after a while what's behind this incessant plague of Judases.

But no, apparently they can run this subroutine as often as needed, with almost no variation from the previous iterations, and the pundocrats on the blather shows suck it in and pump it out with as little thought or criticism as, well, some horrible mindless sucking-pumping thing. They really must have their memories wiped blank every week or so.

Posted by: DrBB on May 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I am always fascinated by the "disgruntled former employee" line, inevitably presented as if it is reason to dismiss anything the former employee says. Yes, the person is disgruntled, but surely it is relevant whether or not this state of disgruntlement is justified.

The more straightforward political equivalent is to dismiss a critic as being "angry" without addressing the possibility that anger might be a justified state of mind.

Posted by: Richard Hershberger on May 30, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea Scotty boy: you donate 100% of the proceeds of your book to the disabled vets who fought for the Big Lie in Iraq.

That way everybody can see how sincere you are about all this.

Posted by: chance on May 30, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

There are obvious reasons for thinking that McClellan deserves some moral credit for coming forward, but it seems to me that the reasons are stronger for thinking that he deserves blame for not coming forward sooner. I realize it's hard to see things clearly from inside the cult...but, seriously, this isn't rocket science. The chicanery of this administration has been pretty damn obvious, and almost off the scale in terms of importance.

His explanation is that it took him awhile to come to his senses, and that's understandable.

What isn't excusable is waiting until his book was done to tell the truth. Someone who was genuinely concerned with principle would probably not have done it that way, but would, rather have tried to get the information out as soon as possible and probably have refused to take any money for it.

So it seems to me that McClellan deserves little net credit here.

As a footnote, one might hypothesize that this is just the way folks like that (roughly: Bushies) see the light. Even when they finally come to their senses, they put their own financial gain ahead of principle. Perhaps that's the best we can ever expect from such people.

Still, I suppose it's better than nothing.

Posted by: Winston Smith on May 30, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of Republican operators are going to find out they are not 'in the house', not 'on the porch', even. They're in the yard with the other pets. No payday, no washroom key, no driving instructions labeled 'How to come to Crawford.' "So long and thanks for all the loyalty.Hope it was fun for you. Good luck in prison."

Posted by: PJ on May 30, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republicans find it so hard to anticipate any negative consequences to their behavior? It's as if they only learned to weigh pluses and never the minuses.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 30, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I can only hope that some of the people...notice...

You'd think...

And you might wonder why...

Well, that pretty much explains the lack of accountability. In the grand scheme of things, there isn't really much thinking or wondering going on.

I think it only helps to have people come out against the administration -- the more the merrier. But I sure wish someone like McCellan, who I view as a tool who for the most part knew he was a tool, had the balls to own his shit. Instead, he mostly casts the blame elsewhere. Missing is the "I made terrible decisions in support of the former administration and it's misinformation. I am sincerely sorry for my role, such as it was, in assisting the administration in making decisions that catastrophically affected the lives of US military personnel, Iraqi citizens, and the fragile political balance of the Middle East."

I just can't see how these people can live with themselves.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 30, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

This parallel occurred to me when I first heard about this book. Guess I wasn't the only one...

http://southernstudies.org/facingsouth/2008/05/shocking-tell-alls-mcclellan-family.asp

Might add the elder McClellan's book was total crap...

Posted by: bull smit on May 30, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I would ask everyone who is quick to condemn McClellan to consider whether or not they have ever been in an organization (a business, a religion, a club, a fraternity) where the group think was intense and personally highly influential. Even simple businesses, where the intensity, hours, etc., are not even close to a job like McClellan's, have credos and beliefs about the competition that are unfair and distorted. They're WRONG! We're RIGHT! He spent his life working within a party and much of it for a, by all accounts, charming guy who just happens to have no core beliefs or deep down integrity. To lesser degrees and with much less important consequences we've all fallen for the party line at one time or another. I hate the current administration. They are horrific in every way. But I can understand how hard it is to stand up to the pressure or even to see clearly when you're living in the belly of the beast.

Posted by: Catherine on May 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republicans find it so hard to anticipate any negative consequences

The American corporate emphasis on having a positive attitude at all times, under any circumstances, prevents not only Republicans from anticipating negative consequences, but most Americans, too. Failure is never an option in America, whether for governmental policy or business outlook, regardless of how far the reach exceeds the grasp, which leads to hostile occupations, environmental degradation and economic bubbles.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Birds of a feather flock together." Betrayed the PUBLIC (U&I), betrayed Ms. Plame, BETRAYED THE TROOPS, betrayed the Iraqis, why not betray Bush and the administration also? (everybody loves a Benedict Arnold)
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE---two more witness for the trial of george and dick. IMPEACH ARREST AND TRY---call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT. (I called today, now its YOUR turn)

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 30, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Failure is not an option -- it comes bundled with Windows."

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

What do honorable people do? See, e.g., Colin Powell.
Posted by: DBL

Your point might have merit had Powell resigned rather than give his deceitful presentation to the Security Council.

Posted by: DJ on May 30, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I would ask everyone who is quick to condemn McClellan to consider whether or not they have ever been in an organization (a business, a religion, a club, a fraternity) where the group think was intense and personally highly influential.

Yes, and that's why I'm no longer a Unitarian.

Posted by: Stefan on May 30, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Except that is the very nature of conservatives. They never, EVER feel the slightest bit of empathy or even sympathy for someone else. Until the same thing happens to them or someone they personally know. Then their tune changes FAST.

Posted by: Danno on May 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

A Republican is a Democrat who hasn't been smeared by the GOP.

Posted by: Chris Andersen on May 30, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. McClellan is a true American hero for having the courage to speak out--with insider knowledge--against an obviously vindictive Bush White House that by the way he knows so well. The response of the Bush White House is predictable and not at all surprising. What is surprising is that some members of the media continue to be used by the Bush White House to spread their propaganda of lies on a broad range of national security issues, but also against any one who would dare to challenge its modus operandi. Thus, such media types are the ones aggressively questioning McClelland's motive and subjecting him to hostile cross-examination, using in fact the inflammatory accusations of the likes of Dole, Karl Rove, Perino and co. No wonder people like Rove have found lucrative employment within the corporate media although everyone should be quite familiar with their dark side and the damage their approach to politics has done to America at home and abroad. This is one of the reasons we urgently need change in Washington!

Posted by: Dr. Sam on May 30, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

But another part thinks: you should figure out what's wrong with trashing someone and destroying his credibility when you do it to someone else. You shouldn't have to wait until it happens to you.

As a rule, influential Republicans seem to have a hard time sympathizing with the plights of others until it's something that happens to them. I don't know why this is, but it's happened so often, it should practically be a cliche by now.

From George Will's handicapped child, to Rush Limbaugh's Oxycontin problem, to Scott McClellan having his reputation ruined, Republican can sympathize with others who've had problems essentially identical to theirs.

But it never gives them a sense of "hey, there's a lot of ways bad shit can happen to people, where it isn't always their fault, and maybe they deserve some leniency or a helping hand." It's always "X happened to me, and it was tough, so if X happens to someone else, they should get some slack." But if Y or Z happens to some unlucky person, or maybe even if X' happens - almost like X, but just a hair different - then they should suck it up, tough it out, and not expect a break from anyone.

They just have a very limited ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes, unless the shoes are of the same size, color, and style they wear.

Some days I think this is the fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 30, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Never believe anything a former White House official says, unless he or she is a disgruntled former White House official.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on May 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Are we going to get pictures of Inkblot and Domino? Or has Scotty's book superceded them.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Good grief. I am so sick of judging. So McClellan is an imperfect human being who overlooked something morally questionable when his career was on the line and now has the grace to ask forgiveness when self-interest has been removed as an impediment. I really, really think the entire fucking country needs to take a step back and ask themselves who has the right to throw that first stone. Now Obama is supposed to reject and denounce some visiting minister who said something offensive, even though, you know, he wasn't there. What in Sam Hill is going on? Is that what's now considered polite in this country? To judge? To renounce and reject every fucking thing anybody in our proximity says that isn't perfect. I'm sick to death of it all. We'll never solve any of our problems, let alone some important ones, if we spend all our time checking every utterance, every gesture--past and present--to find out what exactly enrages us, and even beyond that, then estimating the degree to which we're upset. Can we please just stop checking our goddamn outrage meters all the time. Just fucking stop, count to ten, and realize we're all pretty fucked up. Or, as I saw on a bumper sticker once: I'm not OK; you're not OK; and that's OK. Just stop. Please.

Posted by: Raenelle on May 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"what changed his mind about the Bush administration was having Rove and Libby completely destroy his credibility (what there was of it) by lying to his face so that he could repeat their lies in public"

Yes, making the poor guy tell lies about some pissant undercover CIA case, unbearable. Telling lies, OBVIOUS LIES, to convince a country with the world's most powerful military to DESTROY another country, leading directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, not such a big deal.

Fuck him. Seriously. Can't anybody else tell when someone is lying? Just listen to the guy when he was talking about Iraq, Saddam, WMDs, etc...

He knew he was lying. Fuck the guy. He's lucky that he's not on trial in the Hague.

Posted by: flubber on May 30, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

We'll never solve any of our problems...

...working with Republicans and war advocates.

The only way to solve our problems is to crank up the outrage amplifier way past 11.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 12:48 PM

optical weenie, keep that particular crap elsewhere. Grrrr. Stick to making fun of other people's spelling mistakes and similar posts which pass for your intellectual contribution to the political dialogue, and quit perpetuating the heartbreaking stuff...there isn't any excuse for that post.

Posted by: Zit on May 30, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Scottie was a shitweasel then, and he's a shitweasel now.

What IS it with this fucking country!?

Is there ANYONE out there who REALLY didn't know these people were lying all along?

Posted by: cazart on May 30, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea Scotty boy: you donate 100% of the proceeds of your book to the disabled vets who fought for the Big Lie in Iraq.

That way everybody can see how sincere you are about all this.


Posted by: chance on May 30, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Posted by: No Chance on May 30, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

" I would ask everyone who is quick to condemn McClellan to consider whether or not they have ever been in an organization (a business, a religion, a club, a fraternity) where the group think was intense and personally highly influential."

Yes, and that's why I'm no longer a Unitarian.

Stefan, you too?

What's weird is the rage at McClellan from the Washington Post types. Michael Kinsley's peice yesterday ttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/29/AR2008052901798.html fairly dripped with rage and venom at McClellan, and all the Washington Media types seem to have to dismiss his message without dealing with the case he is making. Of course the anger is misplaced, a classic case of transference, when they should be angry at themselves for being in the Administration's pocket for so long. It's like they think they can help their credibility by attacking him. Sad, in some way, but deserved.

Posted by: MR Bill on May 30, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Sam is right, McClellan is a hero. He was brainwashed by the right-wing crazies, much as Patti Hearst was brainwashed, and when he came back to society, realized that he suffered from the Stockholm syndrome. He needs our support, not our condemnation.

Posted by: Dilbert on May 30, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

If for no other reason than to encourage others to do likewise, we should give Scottie the benefit of the doubt. He probably started out as a true believer. I doubt at the time he thought the propaganda was propaganda, just stretching of the truth in service of a good cause. Slippery slopes usually start out gentle enough that one doesn't realize how much of a mistaken path they've taken, until it is way too late. Chances are it is only after quitting, and asking the question, "how did the policies of my boss help the country?", that Scottie began to realize the harmful legacy of neoconservatism. That process takes time, and entails many burnt bridges.

Posted by: bigTom on May 30, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

What Raenelle said, ditto. Well said.

Posted by: CT on May 30, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Richard Clarke was an outstanding civil servant and recognized the threat that al-Qaeda posed to the United States. Bill Clinton, who also recognized the threat, considered Clarke to be a valued adviser. Bush, on the other hand, didn't give a damn about terrorism before 9-11 and was just about to slash the funding for counterterrorism before the Twin Towers were leveled. Bush considered Clarke an annoyance, as he was warned repeatedly before 9-11 by Clarke and others and did nothing, absolutely nothing, to prevent it. In fact, the following are the titles of the security briefings (and dates) that Bush and Condi Rice were provided before 9-11:

"Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations" (April 20)
"Bin Ladin Threats Are Real" (June 30)
"Bin Ladin Public Profile May Presage Attack" May 3)
"Terrorist Groups Said Co-operating on US Hostage Plot" (May 23)
"Bin Ladin's Networks' Plans Advancing" (May 26)
"Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent" (June 23)
"Bin Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats" (June 25)
"Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile Attacks" (June 30),
"Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays" (July 2)

and of course, the infamous August 2nd PDB entitled, "Bin Ladin Planning Strikes on U.S.. Even after all of these warnings, Bush did nothing, not one thing, to prevent these attacks.

The miserable failure, Bush, after being told by Andy Card, "America is under attack" on September 11th, stared into space not knowing what to do, for over seven minutes, then jetted off to hide in a cornfield in Nebraska.

Can you see now why Richard Clarke quit?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 30, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda harsh there at 2:51, Zit.

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Recognize any of these quotes (via Wikipedia)?
# "Certain elements may try to stretch the Watergate burglary beyond what it is." –1972, referring to Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
# "This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative." –April 17 1973, retracting previous statements that had been revealed to be false.
# "I would apologize to the Post, and I would apologize to Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein." He continued, "We would all have to say that mistakes were made in terms of comments. I was overenthusiastic in my comments about the Post, particularly if you look at them in the context of developments that have taken place." May 1, 1973; the previous day, White House counsel John Dean and Nixon aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman had resigned, as the Watergate scandal progressed.[2]
# "If my answers sound confusing, I think they are confusing because the questions are confusing and the situation is confusing."
# "Thank goodness, I was one of the few members of the Nixon White House staff who was never indicted and I was not part of the cover-up." — on Larry King Live, alluding to the 11 convictions and numerous indictments in the scandal. [1]
# "I was the only one on that plane to San Clemente with Nixon when power changed hands. I was there with Nixon in exile. I will publish a good book someday." –1981.
# "I'm proud of what I did as press secretary, I don't feel the need to apologize; there are some things, however, I would have done differently" –1981. [2]
# "The president is aware of what is going on. That is not to say that there is anything going on." –1972, referring to the investigation of the Watergate scandal

Yes, the legendary Ron Zeigler, the ultimate mouthpiece and frontman for a criminal administration and felonious president. Man, they don't get any better than ol' Ron, and the bugger never did write a tell-all book! Which says something, though I can't decide exactly what.

Posted by: barrisj on May 30, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
Is there ANYONE out there who REALLY didn't know these people were lying all along?

I would suspect that faith in the honesty of the Administration (as it certainly makes it easier to sell the idea with a straight face) was a selection factor in choosing the top spokesman for the administration. Certainly, lots of people here wouldn't have trusted the Administration, but its not like Political Animal regulars were likely to be considered for the job of White House Press Secretary, either. So I don't have much problem believing that McClellan was a true believer right up until the moment an undeniable conflict between reality and the story he was being paid to peddle was rubbed in his face, hard.

And I'm not surprised he's particularly angry now (or that he clings to the idea that it was the people between Bush and him that were ultimately the wrongdoers in most cases.)

Posted by: cmdicely on May 30, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

It took a couple of dramatic slaps for McClellan to realize that they'd been lying to him about everything, all the time. That was so he could go out to the podium and seem sincere, and therefore be effective. He did try to bamboozle, but he's no Ari Fleischer-- he's too transparent a liar himself-- so sincerity was really his only card to play.

I think Catherine's right that he didn't understand it at the time, but once he did understand it he could look back over everything with a different eye. (I had a similar experience with a boss who was pretty exciting to work for but who lied to us insiders just the same way he lied to outsiders.) What McClellan's doing in the book, then, is sifting through the whole pile of lies and calling them lies. That's pretty valuable.

But Hilzoy, think again about the lock-step reaction, the "disgruntled" label, and what this means. The one most consistent thing about this administration has been that it believes in management prerogative; it's never been about what we know as "politics" but about managerial authority. I could go chapter and verse from day one, but there isn't enough space even in blogistan.

In just this example, the response is almost word-for-word the response of any manager/CEO type to any whistleblower or former employee who doesn't sing the boss's praises.

That's no accident. In the corporate world these people emulate, you *never* ask whether the boss is right. That's just not a possible question.

Posted by: Altoid on May 30, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever the rest of us think about him, Scott looks a lot more relaxed under questioning these days. Although he surely knew he was lying, and hasn't quite 'fessed up to that part yet, I appreciate the fact that the guy had an actual conscience, and not only better late than never, it was pretty well timed if you ask me.

Does he deserve money for his effort? Hard to say. If he brings down a few of the criminals looting our country, maybe there will be a positive cost-benefit ratio.

The media managed to ignore the Pentagon propaganda effort, but Scotty is harder to ignore. Much harder. How can the Sunday shows possibly ignore him?

Posted by: Repack Rider on May 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Back in November the wonderfully alert, engaged and forever brave Keith Olbermann commented on McClellan's revelations that the president was a passively involved "Liar In Chief."
Watergate expert legal eagle John Dean, whom I also respect, suggested that there was a real possibility that the allegations related to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Wilson opened the door to a possible conspiracy to defraud the government charge.
Scotty's book could lead to this.

Posted by: consider wisely on May 30, 2008 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Best review of McClellan's book:
"Although The New York Times says that Scott McClellan's book that details the Orwellian deception and mangling of information by George W. Bush and his bully buddies is the first by an "insider," there is, in fact, quite a library by former cabinet and staff members on the subject. But it doesn't take inside information from White House workers to understand the neo-fascism which Bush and his "conservative" faction have imposed on the U.S.

About one-third of the people knew that the information disseminated by the Bush regime leading up to the invasion of Iraq was phony. They knew that it was called into question, if not contradicted, by the reports of weapons inspectors and assessments by the governments of allies. They realized the war was a device of mass black mail to use patriotism and fear to garner support for a regime with totalitarian designs. And anyone familiar with the propaganda techniques of the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, and Red China--and other totalitarian states--recognized what the Bush 43 regime was doing, even if some members of the regime were too dull to understand it themselves. A distinguishing feature of the propaganda technique is to slander and libel individuals who pose a threat to the regime--just as Bush allies Swiftboated John Kerry and the John Thune campaign used character assassination on Tom Daschle. Neo-fascists consider such demented destruction as shrewd politics. Dominating other people is their purpose in life.

The Scott McClellan book is no surprise to anyone but the Bush leaguers. Members of the White House press corps noted a growing tentativeness in McClellan in regard to the Bush talking points before he was forced out as press secretary. Cable and network news do not pick up on such matters, but members of the print media commented on McClellan's obvious discomfiture, especially in regard to the war on Iraq.

Put the McClellan book along side those by former state department officers, former cabinet members, national security officials. and journalists such as Bob Woodward, and you have quite a history of an intellectually and morally bankrupt regime. The saddest part is the number of people who defend and support it. At this point, just over 25 percent of the people approve of Bush's performance, but the question is how many who disapprove do so on the substantive exploits the administration has taken against democracy and our Constitutional protections. By 2004, a huge portion of the electorate was cowed or duped intoperceiving Bush as their protective Big Brother, and Orwell's 1984 was a reality in America.

How many times does the neo-con rock have to be turned over before we see the things writhing beneath it as America's most imminent threat. Scott McClellan has exposed them once again. We can only hope no more books need to be written on the matter." ...David Newquist

Posted by: found this online on May 30, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Dana Milbank: "The bookshelf is groaning under the kiss-and-tells from former Bush staffers. Here's a partial list I found on the Internets:

George Tenet. Richard Clarke. Rand Beers. Paul O'Neill. David Kuo. John Dilulio. Eric Schaeffer. Bill Harlow. Christy Todd-Whitman. Eric Shinseki. David Iglesias. David Kay. Anthony Zinni. Lawrence Wilkerson. Matthew Dowd. Greg Thielmann. Jay Garner. John Brady Kiesling. Tom Ridge. John Brown. Charles Duelfer. Roger Cressey. Sibel Edmonds. Ken Mehlman. Karen Kwiatkowski. Joe Wilson. Thomas White. John Batiste. Paul Eaton. Tom Maertens. Coleen Rowley. Paul Bremer. John Danforth. Andrew Wilkie. Ann Wright. Mike Brown. Ken Adleman "

Posted by: keep up the good work on May 30, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Dana Milbank: "The bookshelf is groaning under the kiss-and-tells from former Bush staffers. Here's a partial list I found on the Internets:

George Tenet. Richard Clarke. Rand Beers. Paul O'Neill. David Kuo. John Dilulio. Eric Schaeffer. Bill Harlow. Christy Todd-Whitman. Eric Shinseki. David Iglesias. David Kay. Anthony Zinni. Lawrence Wilkerson. Matthew Dowd. Greg Thielmann. Jay Garner. John Brady Kiesling. Tom Ridge. John Brown. Charles Duelfer. Roger Cressey. Sibel Edmonds. Ken Mehlman. Karen Kwiatkowski. Joe Wilson. Thomas White. John Batiste. Paul Eaton. Tom Maertens. Coleen Rowley. Paul Bremer. John Danforth. Andrew Wilkie. Ann Wright. Mike Brown. Ken Adleman "

Posted by: keep up the good work on May 30, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK
you should figure out what's wrong with trashing someone and destroying his credibility when you do it to someone else. You shouldn't have to wait until it happens to you.

That's a typical conservative reaction. Remember, Dick Cheney was entirely opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage until his daughter convinced him she was lesbian. Conservatives don't take the word of others regarding their experience. Conservatives base their personal decisions on their inhuman ideology until their personal experience contradicts that ideology clearly.

Posted by: Rick B on May 30, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! McClellan is old news. He didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. Focus on Dana "We are puzzled" Perino. She's McClellan in real-time. Make her life the one of a miserable creature.

Posted by: dennisS on May 30, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

willingly participated in that savaging
similar to how hilzoy spent last weekend

Posted by: mixed feelings indeed on May 31, 2008 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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