Literary excursions

Now he tells us….

Let’s call this picture “Portrait of a Dude Lying His Ass Off”.
Because according to former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, that’s exactly what he did.
In his new book “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception”, McClellan says what many have suspected all along: that President George W. Bush and company lied to the American public throughout the run up to the war, conducted a “permanent campaign” to advance the political interests of Republicans, and constructed the 2003 debate over the war in Iraq in such a way that using force against Saddam Hussein would be seen as the only possible option.
McClellan also said that when he was standing in front of the White House press corps defending folks like Karl Rove and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, he was also engaging in White House spin doctoring. He then takes a shot at the White House Press Corps for buying into the spin and not asking the tough questions.
But wow! I know who’s no longer invited for barbecue at the Crawford Ranch. I wonder if Jenna’s going to return his wedding present now.
Naturally, the more stalwart FOBs (Friends of Bush) have weighed in and they’re not real happy that not only has McClellan gone off the reservation, but has called Tony Stark and borrowed his Iron Man suit, complete with tank-destroying mini-rockets, for the trip.
For example, the aformentioned Rove says that McClellan is channeling “left wing bloggers”, the current White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says Bush is “disappointed” and Ari Fleisher, the dude that was Bush’s first press secretary, says McClellan should have voiced his reservations when he had the chance instead of when he could cash in.
First of all, from what I’ve seen of the Bush administration, McClellan would have had to go through Vice President Dick Chaney if he wanted to stop the War In Iraq train. I don’t know if I would want to tangle with a guy so gangsta that he can shoot someone in the face and then get the victim to apologize to him for the inconvenience.
And secondly, on some level Fleisher, of whom it’s been said that you can tell when he’s lying because his lips are moving and sound is coming out, is right.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of people waiting until they can make a few bucks off of it to let their consciences be their guide.
Over 4,000 people have been killed in this war and I know that their parents are pissed for not only the lying, but the timing. I know that this won’t happen, but if McClellan is really trying to get right with God, might I suggest donating some of the loot he’s gonna make off of this book to a Iraqi War Veterans group or two?
But while McClellan’s book will go into the “no shit, Sherlock” section of most people’s bookshelves, I’m glad that he pointed something out that needed to be: the press’s complicity in this war.
I have a friend who works for the Mayor’s office here in Philly and he called me recently for advice on how to cultivate relationships with reporters. One of the things that I told him was to be nice.
I said that because in the modern press if you’re nice to reporters, they sometimes forget to ask you the kinds of questions that they should be asking. Like, for example, Do you know exactly where these weapons of mass destruction are and are you sure that they still exist?
For much of the last eight years, the press has played lapdog instead of watchdog. We’ve given more energy to finding out who George Clooney is dating than to what is being done in the American public’s name.
While I’m sure that much of this is due to a lack of resources brought on by media consolidation and a fear on the part of news organizations that they’ll be denied access to the White House if they play too rough, that’s sad. And I’m pretty sure that Mr. Clooney would totally agree with me.
(By the way, go out and get a copy of “Good Night and Good Luck” and get a look at what television news was supposed to be. It’s an excellent film.)
It’s especially sad that Scott McClellan has to be the one to point out the press’s lapdog status, seeing as he was the lead one rubbing the doggie’s belly for awhile. If the White House Press Corps would have been as vigilant on the War in Iraq as it was in finding out which ugly trailer park chick or needy intern President Bill Clinton was shagging, a lot of lives could have been spared.
But it wouldn’t have made as interesting of reading as The Starr Report, would it?
Hopefully, the press will learn from this multi-million, thousands of lives lost, mistake and resume its watchdog function….because there’s a lot of watching that still needs to be done.