Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scott McClellan: King of the "If Onlys"

Poor unlucky Scott "Scooter" McClellan--his long tenure as one of Bush's inner team, stretching back to their Texas days, culminated as White House Press Secretary from July 2003 until April 2006, landing him in the thick of things from the first hints that Iraq wasn't going to be a "cake walk" to the point where a majority of Americans had begun to think it was a mistake on the merits.

Remember him frantically double-talking his way through questions about the president and Scooter Libby in 2005? Or, three months later, desperately tap-dancing around questions about the 2006 leak of the Downing Street Memo documenting Bush's intentions to invade Iraq in 2003 regardless of what the weapons inspectors found?

By spring of 2006, he was sweating so bad at the press room podium it would fog up the inside of your TV at home.

And what has he been doing since then? Same thing that many other of the two-bit hacks who kept the Iraq War show running on a day-to-day basis have been doing, although Scooter is the one with the closest Bush ties so far to go this route: He's been writing a book explaining that it was everyone's fault but his own, of course.

Ah yes. If only. If only they had all listened to Scooter.

  • If only Condi Rice had been less "accommodating" to the president.

  • If only Rove, Libby, and Cheney had not "allowed" or "encouraged" Scooter to "repeat a lie" about the orchestrated leak of Valerie Wilson's operational cover.

  • If only Rove had listened to Scooter's concerns that Bush's handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster was making him appear "detached and out of touch."

  • If only the White House had displayed more "candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed."

  • If only the Washington press corps had not been “complicit enablers” in the “carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval” in the run-up to the Iraq War.

That last one's a pip--as disgraceful as the White House coverage was during the McClellan years, as "complicit" as they were in the selling of a bill of goods to the American people, it was McClellan at the counter, every day, closing the sale.

Which leads us to the biggest "if only" of them all: If only McClellan, mere mortal that he was, had measured up to his own lofty standards for himself. “I fell far short," he writes, "of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be.”

And what kind of public servant did McClellan want to be? Let's move forward so we can get to the bottom of that as quickly as we can:

Poor Scooter. It was everyone's fault but his. And only now can it be revealed.

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