robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote,
robin_d_laws
robin_d_laws

McClellan

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Even in the depths of his tenure as Bush press secretary, Scott McClellan always seemed to me like the most likely administration official to write a scathing tell-all. His divided consciousness was always visible as a series of tells that would have led him to the slaughter at any poker table. McClellan's deer-meets-headlights demeanor at tough press conferences signaled a lack of belief in his own statements—a fear that he might be caught out. Contrast this to the airy control of his predecessor, Ari Fleischer. Now he was a master. After an Ari Fleischer press conference, there was less information in the world than there had been before it.

Sure, McClellan is moving some books. Still, I can’t help feeling a little sorry for him, and admiring the thoroughness with which he’s donned the hair shirt. His basic thesis couldn’t wring more hatred from all sides if it were calculated for that purpose. For the rightosphere, there’s the obvious act of betrayal of the team when it’s already down. He assures the continued teeth-grinding of the leftosphere by insisting on a shred of personal admiration for the president they despise. And for failing to time his epiphany for greater strategic impact. If that’s not enough, he poxes both ideological houses, blaming a culture of lawyerly spin, which he traces to the beginning of the Clinton era.

He calls this the permanent campaign, but the idea that a press secretary’s chief function is not that of truth-teller of course predates this considerably. (See the Yes Minister episode where Sir Humphrey patiently explains to Hacker that one does not tell the truth, one expresses one’s position.)

Just in case he might have an ally left in Washington, McClellan goes on to blame the press for its supine acceptance of the patent balderdash he guiltily dished at them.

At least he hasn’t gored the oxen of Canadian game designers. Scott McClellan, for the kamikaze earnestness of your self-immolation, I salute you.

Tags: politics hut
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