Monday, June 02, 2008

It's a Puzzle

George Stephanopolis wrote a ‘tell all’ book about the Clinton White House. He didn’t really tell much, but he made a lot of money and positioned himself for a media career. My friends at ABC, who initially were against his hiring, are now most supportive of his work—and how hard he works. I’m not quite there yet but who knows.

Scott McClellan wrote a book that not only tells all, it tells about lies and duplicity and ignorance—much of it his. Talk about an idiot – I hesitate to give this idiot any time, but there are things that need to be said – by me and anyone else who cares to say them.

The Bush Administration prides itself on ‘loyalty’. I’m not sure what that means except given their incredible ability to deceive millions of people, I guess it means that in order to be loyal you have to support any lie told by the White House and additionally, you need to read from the script of the day. Let’s talk about the script first—it’s easier than loyalty. The script from the White House, with regard to Scott was “it just doesn’t sound like the Scott I know.” And “It is puzzling”. Without exception everyone who has spoken for the Bush Administration has said those two things. So my question is; what is puzzling about a guy deciding after he defended a policy, and now wants to be a media personality, that he would have to find a way to make amends for the fact that he lied or he was not important enough to be in the loop. Additionally, who was the Scott that all these people knew? Quite clearly, they neither knew him, nor did they take the time to figure what his motives would be to write this piece of ‘mea culpa” trash. They all knew he was writing something. They thought it would be favorable. They were horribly wrong. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them.

What’s going to happen to ‘oh poor Scott’. Clearly there is a media backlash. I haven’t heard one talking head talking about how Scott was right to either write this ‘tell all’ (like none of us knew the Administration was lying) nor have they talked about the fact that his confessions were honorably motivated. Nope the guy is a sleeze – maybe that is the Scott they needed to know.

Before the Clinton Administration, loyalty was an important even prized asset in politics, because loyalty is really about trust. When you worked in a Presidential campaign or an Administration you were judged not only by competence but by the fact that you could be trusted with information which, had you not been a part of the team, you would never have known. While people like Diane Sawyer became media professionals, she did not write a book or prostitute (and I mean that in the nicest possible way), to get her job. She worked very hard and despite the fact that she came out of an Administration with real problems, (Nixon), she did not denounce the President nor did she make up stories about how she really wasn’t a part of it. She just worked hard and proved that she could be a success. During the Clinton Administration many people learned that you had to be loyal to the President but neither of the Clinton’s needed to be loyal to anyone—except generous donors. No one knew it until they started to throw their friends, awaiting government appointments, under that proverbial bus. But that is not the point. There is no need to pretend ignorance in order to circumvent responsibility. There is something much more endearing about confessing that you were a dope rather than you knew things were amiss but you had no power to do anything about it. Oh Please!

When you are privileged enough to serve the President of the United States, with it comes some sense of responsibility and decency that no one should need to explain. You are put in a position that requires you to swear allegiance to the United States. But you serve at the “pleasure of the President.” That means you defend decisions the President makes or you tell the appropriate person that you can’t abide by the decision and you resign. It’s just that simple. You do not stand in front of the media and lie to the public and then, in retrospect, decide you made a mistake. If you realize you made an honest mistake it better not have cost 4000 young lives and it better not be about your desire to change your career path.

While I have made it a career goal to have a sense of humor about everything, I’m having a hard time with this. So let’s try a not funny but workable poem.

Roses are Red
Violets are yellow
Scott McClellan
You are a despicable fellow.

We're Just Sayin...

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