Sunday, June 1, 2008

Great Scott! Why Wasn't I Informed Immediately!

What's fascinating about the Scott McClellan stuff? I'm not sure. After about a week of digestion I'm left with the impression that he's a pitiable child who has come to the embarrassing realization that he was the last to know what was going on at home.

Of course this is no trite family matter since his home was a White House which intimidated press, pundits and most nay-sayers into believing (or at least not questioning) the premise that going to war with Iraq was a strategic necessity.

This is not to say that I agree with any of the hand-wringing Republicans who are "puzzled" and say don't recognize the Scott they know. These non-denials are trivial truths, since they tell us nothing. Of course they are puzzled. Of course they don't recognize him. Scott was a puppy, happy to be petted and fed and stroked as and when master so deigned. That he's now trying to be Cujo -- or at least Underdog -- is puzzling and not like him at all.

McClellan was a professional liar, in a profession where the most integrity you can possibly muster to not address a subject at all, as Mike McCurry did when he was relentlessly questioned about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. McCurry went out of his way to say he had gone out of his way not to talk to his boss at all about this subject. Maybe that wasn't true, but it at least allowed him not to pass along propaganda as fact.

Scott, however, was happy to present the company line and denigrate the inquisitive. One is left with the impression that he simply didn't have what it takes to do otherwise: another feckless, powerless minion whose role was to do no harm as the powerful A-Team did as much as possible. Even the strongest among the inside-outsiders -- Colin Powell, Paul O'Neill -- were expected to sit quietly and nod when they were pushed before the cameras to defend the manhood of others.

So, what about Scott? It's always helpful when someone in the know confirms what critics have asserted, what logic requires us to conclude, and what the country seems to largely believe, given the Nixon-esque polling numbers Bush gets. When a messenger changes sides, his secrets are valuable -- even if he isn't.

But it does lack the impact of a confession from someone who actually does matter. It isn't William Casey (or even Ollie North) outing Ronald Reagan. It isn't John Dean spilling the beans about Richard Nixon. It is a tardy confirmation from a water carrier who came to Jesus, he says, only after reporters made it all clear to him two years later. Hallelujah.

I welcome Scott to our side, but he shouldn't get his hopes up about getting picked to play.

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