Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thoughts on the Scott McClellan Fervor

Stop the presses. Forget earthquakes, forget Obama's latest goof or threats from Al Qaeda. The front page news today issss, another ill-advised confidant of the Bush administration has turned around and used the momentum of anti-war opinion to thrust a disgruntled dagger into President Bush's public image. No, seriously!

This uproar is, of course, precisely what Scott (or his publisher) wanted. The element of surprise, and the ensuing kerfuffle have rocketed the book to #1 on Amazon.com.

A couple of thoughts hit me while mulling this over today. The first one is that, while I knew of Scott McClellan, I'd never been terribly impressed with his work as a press spokesman. Being that I now hold an official position as a press spokesman (Students for Concealed Carry on Campus) and having done several regional and national interviews, I did not find his quiet style of press conferences very engaging, and certainly not befitting the man who was in charge of batting away the blood-hungry media. He did not maintain a high profile, or even personality, and I never heard anything about his departure. (Unlike Ari Fleisher, whose conduct I remember well, and who was playfully doused with water when leaving the White House on his last day.)

Tony Snow never quite got his boots broken in before medical problems forced his departure, and he had to overcome freshman jitters and the fact that he often had to voice support for ideas he did not agree with, such as why there was no need to worry about the vast influx of immigrants on the Mexican border.

As other insiders such as Karl Rove and others return fire (while scratching their heads, trying to decipher this unexpected attack from within) it occurs to me that even as Democrats pounce on these "allegations", and maybe even guarantee the coveted immunity from leftist criticism, McClellan has lost respect from both sides. Democrats may welcome his shocking look behind the scenes at the eeeevil Bush White House, but will never respect him. They know now that he is a turncoat and a sellout. Similarly, Republicans welcome former Clinton lackey Dick Morris and his devastating blows to the Clintons, but they have small respect for him behind closed doors.

Republicans, of course, still baffled that such disgruntlement has laid dormant (until the book comes out), will certainly never trust McClellan again.

As for the allegations, they delve into far more complex matters (WMD, the Iraq war, Valarie Plame, et. al.), for which more qualified sources have broken down. Suffice to say that I still hold the informed opinion (contrary to public sentiment) that the Iraq war was justified, and for the very same reasons which the President himself now says were unfounded.

As for Scott McClellan, he'll hang around for a while and soak up praise (and money) for his maverick sucker punch, but it won't last. He's become a rebel without a cause, and without honor. Let's hope he's happy.

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