Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CJ to Bush’s Bartlet

Scott McClellan, George Bush’s former Press Secretary, has spilled some beans. No, not down his shirt, but in a memoir. He’s critical, but tries almost painfully to avoid attacking Bush himself.


“I still like and admire President Bush,” McClellan writes. “But he and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war. … In this regard, he was terribly ill-served by his top advisers, especially those involved directly in national security.”


“Over that summer of 2002,” he writes, “top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war. … In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage.”

It’s easy to happen. “Boys, we need to be highly candid and honest with the public during this time of war.” “Yes, sir. We’ll immediately get going on a propaganda campaign to manipulate sources of public opinion to your advantage.” “Good stuff. Now where are my golf clubs?”

And, in a way, McClellan blames the media for Iraq:

“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 never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

And, bafflingly:

McClellan... relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000 campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine. “I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?'” he writes.

Effects of cocaine include shortened attention span, twitching, paranoia, impotence and shortened attention span.

1 comment:

m said...

So far, the book doesn’t seem to claim anything new. It does reignite the impeachment debate, yet, as you said, McClellan skirts the issue of blame.

I’m a bit torn on the issue of impeachment. I agree that it shouldn’t be used to further some kind of campaign outlook, yet this is quite serious. At the same time, I imagine it’s a bit pointless as Bush covered his tracks well and I don’t see many people, in positions of power, who want to impeach him. (Yet, Wexler will carry on.)

As for cocaine, the list of officials who’ve used cocaine makes me feel incredibly dull. I need to spend more time in club bathrooms.

Oh, and McClellan shares a harsh truth to the campaign message of both McCain and Obama, comparing their messages to the one Bush used in 2000. (Most everyone knows that, but one doesn't like to acknowledge it.)