Monday, November 28, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different ...

Is White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan out of a job?

The last time McClellan gave an on-the-record press briefing from the White House press podium was 19 days ago. PR Week recently speculated that McClellan was on his way out, based on scuttlebutt among the White House press corps.

Some liberals may cheer McClellan's departure, but JABBS would never endorse killing the messenger. It's akin to demanding a sports writer be fired because the home team stunk this year. McClellan is that sports writer, and this administration most certainly stinks.

If McClellan has been dumped, it won't be a victory for those battling the Bush spin machine.

When McClellan offered garbage to the media, it was because he was provided garbage by the Bush Administration. When his answers lacked logic, it was because the higher-ups couldn't provide him with any logic.

In a recent example, McClellan told reporters that President Bush never told Palestinian leaders that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. In disputing statements made for a BBC series by Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen and Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, McClellan admitted he "didn't travel on that trip," when Bush allegedly made the comments.

Was McClellan lying about Bush? JABBS can't say. But logically, McClellan's statement made no sense. He was only parroting what some higher-up told him to say.

Certainly, there's a laundry list of questionable McClellan statements. He contradicted himself regarding commenting on the investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, and appears to have lied when he said conclusively in 2003 that Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was "not involved" in the leak. He contradicted Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about whether a flawed Newsweek article incited violence in Afghanistan. He pretended not to know that U.S. troops in Tikrit had been coached prior to a teleconference with President Bush, even after the coaching had been caught on tape. After Hurricane Katrina, he obfuscated, rather than answer the question: "Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?"

But in each of these cases, it's easy to argue that McClellan was just parroting the administration's official message of the day.

***

If McClellan is dumped, the final straw may have been his written statement attacking a troop withdrawal plan authored by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). McClellan said Murtha was “endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party.”

But even here, was McClellan speaking on his own behalf? Probably not. Did what McClellan say look bad, leading to comparisons to vicious attacks made by Bush cronies in 2000 against another Vietnam War veteran, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)? Absolutely. Soon thereafter, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney read the tradewinds, and backed away from McClellan's comments in an effort to "quell a backlash."

By doing so, they killed their messenger. But no doubt, if McClellan's career really is over, they'll have no trouble finding a replacement.

11 Comments:

Anonymous LSparkle said...

Enter Nicolle Wallace (nee Devenish) ... who's been all over TV

And if that's the case, I say "bring it on" -- she looks far more "flusterable" than even Snotty Scottie.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous yellowcanine said...

Oh dear I hope not. He is such good copy.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Czolgosz said...

The sports writer SHOULD be fired if he actively participated in the home team's demise by lying to cover up the team's weaknesses and it's illegal tactics.

While it is generally a good policy not to fire the messenger, when the messenger is a proven liar, you ought to fire him.

Puffy McMoonface must go (let him go back to Austin and run his momma's gubernatorial campaign).

4:26 PM  
Anonymous TomInTib said...

I was just wondering about this. Scottie is just a parrot but they could be using him as a scapegoat for all the conflicting BS coming out of the WH.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous kweerwolf said...

Poor Scottie!
At least he's got Jeff Gannon to fall back on (or maybe Jeffie call fall back on him since Jeffie's a "top") for solace in this tough time.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous DemoTex said...

White House Press Secretary Jeff Gannon.
What the hell, might as well.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous LoKnLoD said...

Maybe he quit... tired of being the Bush patsy and whipping boy for the press. I wouldn't blame him, no amount of money would be worth what he has to do everyday.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous ash said...

Amid all the speculation, can we agree that:

a) McClellan NEVER speaks for himself, and

b) We shouldn't feel too sorry for him, since no one forced him to take the job in the first place.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous greiner3 said...

At the Nuremberg Trials;
They used the same defense; I was only doing what I was told to do. Messengers have the choice to do so or to refuse and take the consequences. McClellan never once said to his bosses, NO.

At least that's my say-so.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous patdem said...

Well, they let Ari go just before the Plame affair...cause HE KNEW and did not have plausible deniability...in fact he might be a part of the investigation. Then they just lied to poor McClellan..so maybe ANOTHER scandle is about to hit the fan..and McClellan KNOWS about so he has to go? Just askin?

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree that dumping McClellan does not disrupt the Bush spin machine.
It causes more people to question what is going on within Bush propaganda world, or more appropriately, the Fairy Land of Oz.
Go off message, get the boot. Stay on message get the boot...Truth is the only casualty.

5:32 PM  

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