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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scott McClellan and the Democrats: The Unholy Alliance

I wanted to wait until after Bill O'Reilly interviewed Scott McClellan to comment on McClellan's book and the strange bedfellows it has caused. Here is part of the interview...

Here is what I took away. It appears to me that McClellan's ideology is bi partisanship. He is not an ideologue in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, he firmly believes that the way to get things done is to work across the aisle so to speak and include all thoughts in the process. I think this is what drew him to Bush initially because in Texas Bush was able to work well across the aisle. I think that McClellan felt a certain amount of disillusionment after his time in the White House, because after an initial period of bipartisanship in which the tax cuts were passed along with No Child Left Behind, Bush eventually dug in and became combative on Iraq and many other issues.

This appeared to be the underlying and initial theme of the book. It remains unclear if it was initially much more favorable to the President and turned with the Soros linked publisher's influence, or if McClellan was always in charge. McClellan's stated emphatically that he was always in charge.

For the Democrats and other Bush haters, they may want to proceed with caution. I have never seen such a monumental and fast shifting of political bedfellows as I have with this situation. McClellan is now the golden child of the far left, and even the Obama campaign is mentioning him. While there is a great deal of propaganda material in a former confidante talking bad, what remains very unclear is just exactly what McClellan has proven negatively toward Bush.

For instance, McClellan was emphatic that Bush hyped up the threat of nuclear weapons from Saddam, and that Bush made that the center of his reasoning for going after Saddam. Of course, that isn't the way I remember Bush framing the issue at all. In fact, every Bush reference towards Saddam's nuclear program was one of lack of knowledge. Here is an example.

And in 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.

Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program -- weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.

Nothing here is untrue. Nowhere does Bush proclaim that Saddam has a nuclear program. Rather Bush focuses on Saddam's attempts to acquire one, his past history of one, and his unquestionable desire to get one. So, what is your beef, Mr. McClellan?

Then, on the Plame issue, the indictment is just as fuzzy. McClellan feels that Rove leaked the name and thus should have been removed. Here is how Rove responded.

Well, yes. Look, first of all, the person who revealed Valerie Wilson Plame 's identity is Richard Armitage. I think it's revealing in the book that Scott devotes 34 pages to me on this incident with Wilson and Plame and he devotes 1.5 sentences to the guy that we now was the person who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, not only to Robert Novak but two weeks before that, to Bob Woodruff.

I did not. And I don't remember the conversation to this day with Matt Cooper, but Matt Cooper's own notes shows that the conversation I had with him on Friday, several days after Novak has already told me that he is writing the story, and that it's going to -- and after I know that it's going to appear the following week, Matt Cooper's own notes showed that I had an off-the-record conversation with him in response to a phone call to me, in which I tried to discourage him about writing anything at all about Wilson.

His notes for the conversation say that I am saying, don't get ahead of this. Wilson is not telling the truth. The CIA has come out with a statement. In essence, you've been beat by others. You, Matt Cooper , who's writing for "TIME" magazine on a Friday -- you know, this is a conversation that take place on a Friday -- don't be writing about this this weekend, because Wilson is not who he appears to be, and you ought not to be getting ahead on this.

Finally, McClellan says the Bush admin bungled Katrina. Of course, we didn't need Scott McClellan to reach that conclusion. He is also upset that the Bush admin "propagandized" the war. This is one of those nebulous but nefarious words that can mean all sorts of things. This is frankly a silly attack. FDR created an office of censorship because he understand the importance of propaganda during war time. Being able to verbalize the importance of the war effort to the citizenry is a mandatory part of warfare. McClellan calls this propaganda, and thus it has a negative connotation, however Bush is not the first President to do it.

Ultimately, most of McClellan's attacks come down to very complicated things that have been debated ad nauseum. Sure he has gained the favor of Bush haters, but they already hated him. I doubt that he will sway anyone in the middle because not only is the content too confusing but it goes over things long in the past. Bush haters and loyalist may show a great interest in Valerie Plame but most folks don't care very much. The Democrats are almost giddy to invoke McClellan's name as some sort of validation of their beliefs toward the President. I just don't think he actually validates anything. Furthermore, I doubt most of the mainstream public will see it that way.

As for the Bush supporters, I suggest they are getting dangerously close to what Shakespeare once said

thou dost protest a bit too much

It may very well be that McClellan is worthy of this sort of extreme attack but on many levels the attacks may just reveal a hint of truth in his content.

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