Skip to comments.Blame Bush for McClellan
Posted on 05/30/2008 9:02:52 AM PDT by rob777
Has there ever been as much chatter among the pundits about someone as light weight, un-talented, inconsequential (and utterly predictable) as Scott McClellan? I mean, who was he again? Oh yeah, that boring, un-engaged pasty little white dude who mumbled through the daily press briefings after Ari Fleisher and before Tony Snow. I remember him now. I used to wonder how in the world it was that the President found someone so totally unimpressive to help fight his media battles.
Then I remembered: McClellan was a more appropriate as Press Secretary for the New Tone President than either his predecessor or successors. After all, the New Tone (which is short for uni-lateral surrender to your political enemies) logically leads to Presidential front man who is totally ineffective. Allow me to present exhibit A: Scott McClellan.
And now the verdict is in. McClellan and the New Tone can both be declared unequivical disasters. In a 50-50 country, it takes some real doing to have a 26% approval rating. That's sort of like 38 over par on a putt-putt course. It is unimaginably bad and McClellan was part of the team that crafted it.
So bad, in fact, that the Prez actually had to let him "pursue other opportunities." (In the real world, we call that "firing." In Washington, it means writing a vindictive tell all book). For one of the Texas gang to screw up so badly that they had to be jettisoned says something...since this is a President who would ride Texas loyalty straight to the bottom of the political abyss. For some reason he valued that loyalty over his Presidency...and oh by the way the country. Still, McClellan was so ill suited that he was canned anyway.
And now Bush and his inner circle are "shocked" that Scottie would do this to them. And they were shocked that Ted Kennedy did not like them after they let him write the education bill. Shocked that their new tone never did work in charming the likes of Pelosi and Reid and Daschle and Durbin and Schumer, not to mention Matthews and Rather and Williams and Gibson.
They are all shocked because one thing has been consistent about this President: his "misoverstimation" of his own charm and its effect on those around him -- political allies and enemies alike. This misoverstimation is the psychosis behind the New Tone, the Kennedy Education Bill, looking into the soul of Vladimir Putin, the whole misguided concept of "compassionate conservatism"....and the belief that elevating little worms like McClellan to heights far beyond what their talents merit will be repaid with kindness.
I actually did like the President at one time, but started finding him hard to stomach when the New Tone appeared. I was insulted (horrified, actually) that Bush didn't understand that conservatism is compassion and that "compassionate conservatism" is actually liberalism. I never liked Kennedy's education bill or thought he would like us for it. I never trusted Putin as someone we can "do business with."
And I never thought McClellan was worth a damn. I am not surprised that he's now cashing in on his former position with this post defacto "harrmph" of indignation. Afterall, in the real world, folks who are elevated beyond their capabilities do one thing predictablly when they start to slip in stature; they sell whoever and whatever down the river to maintain their status, because they surely cannot do it on their own talent. McClellan may no longer be welcome in the Oval Office, but he's a star in Keith Olbermann's green room.
Consider: this presidency reached a point in 2001 and 2002 where the President was winning battles because his opponents "mis underestimated" him. Now it is crashing and burning at the finish because he is mis-overestimating himself. And an argument can be made that he's taking the party and the country down with him. Frankly, that Texas charm is wearin a bit thin.
The Bushes are intensely loyal, but the people they associate with have not returned the favor.
I actually did like the President at one time, but started finding him hard to stomach when the New Tone appeared. I was insulted (horrified, actually) that Bush didn't understand that conservatism is compassion and that "compassionate conservatism" is actually liberalism.
You know, in retrospect that really should have been our first clue.
And the Right wonders why they are about to get the butt stomping of all political butt stomping this Nov?
Could it be because of this knee jerk urge in the Conservative media to hysterically whine at Bush on every issue rather then ever take the Left on on anything?
I've often wondered the same. McClellan was an embarrassment on the job, and shouldn't have lasted a month.
This is spot on. I wish I could say otherwise, but I can’t.
Be a nice surprise if one day the political fringe whiners on the far Right might actually try taking on the Left on anything instead of spending 100% of their time sniping their own side in the back.
The Conservative media probably defended the adminstration for too long which allowed them to think they didn’t need to fight their own battles. Hence, a punching bag like Scotty appears.
Yep - I always thought so, too.
Tony Snow was such a refreshing change.
McClellan is from a long line of libs, and his mom "one tough grandma" is one of the biggest political "turds in the punchbowl" there have ever been. Her son is just doing what libs do everywhere, even here in Texas, which is to make things miserable for everyone.
I hate to admit it, but C. Edmund Wright is pretty much on point here. He’s brutally accurate, and doesn’t just leave a mark on the hide of the Bush Presidency, but raises welts.
In other words, the 'right' didn't leave the GOP... you know the rest.
While this statement is true, it is, however, apparently equally true for conservatives in general. It happened under Reagan when Don Regan wrote a similar McClellan-type book. Giving someone a break and showing loyalty is almost always betrayed under a Republican administration. Think of it. Such a betrayal never happened to Carter, and it certainly never happened to Clinton.
Then there is always some nimrod in a Republican administration that very publicly resigns out of some great moral conflict at odds with the administration, such as Bill Weld under Reagan. But again, such a thing never happened under Clinton or Carter.
So your thought on lack of loyalty to the Bushes is too narrow in expression.
The problem is that Bush is intensely loyal to his enemies and his most incompetent buddies. But he won’t lift a finger to help the subordinates who truly do good work under him for our country, like Ramos and Compean, or the Haditha marines, or General Peter Pace, or Scooter Libby. He leaves them to twist in the wind.
Too tell the truth, I originally thought that “compassionate conservatism” was a buzzword, a political campaign gimmick to help him get elected. It was disappointing to learn that he really meant it, in a very dim and deluded sort of way.
Solve the public education crisis in our country by spending billions and adding an extra layer of federal bureaucracy to the mix? Oh, sure. Solve the security crisis by adding layer upon layer of federal bureaucracy on top of broken agencies like the FBI and the CIA, doubling the pay of the airport inspectors and giving them lifetime tenure, and then putting an open border man at the top? Oh, sure.
I’d rather blame McClellan for McClellan. Seems more appropriate.
I’ve never understood why all admins don’t have anyone but total loyalists on board. McClellan had a Dem background. His mother changed from Dem to Rep to Indy. He was raised during her Dem period.
To the victor remains the spoils. Geesh. Clean house when ya win.
Sadly, there are plenty of such whinging pantywaists even on this forum.
Uh, please enlighten us Johnny. Maybe the Republicans didn't go too far to the left enough?
Could it be because of this knee jerk urge in the Conservative media to hysterically whine at Bush on every issue rather then ever take the Left on on anything?
Could it be because you're arguably the most myopic poster on the Internet? Ironically, you accuse us of whining when it is you who are the biggest whiner there is.
Totally agree with the point.
Even Democrats were praising Reagan and quietly respected him. That's because Reagan didn't take any s--t. Perhaps Bush should have done the same. If he would have promoted a clear, conservative agenda, he'd be just as respected.
All the same loser Dinons we hear these days, Buchanan, Vingue et al spent Reagan 2nd term hysterically whining about him.
The only people who whined about Reagan were uber-RINOs such as Warren Rudman and of course the Democrats. You really don't get it do you.
They got over it and gave the drunken maniac another chance on amnesty.
I’m from Texas and I blame his mother, the oft married Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn, for his parting of the ways with Bush. She ran as an independent against Bush’s successor and had a snit when Bush endorsed Perry.
How about you run for office, or any Freepers?
Come on now.....your country needs you!
Pretty tough to win any political battles when 30% of your team does nothing but shoot their own side in the back.
How about the Always Whining Choir surprise us ONE time and actually attack the Left on anything. Odd how they NEVER ever manage to find anything to complain about when it comes to the Democrats.
Unlike Bush for six years, Reagan had a Rat Congress. Reagan also had to rebuild the military, which was more deteriorated than when Bush took over from Clinton. And the Soviet threat was far more dangerous than the Islamofascists.
he gave a real amnesty to illegals
After he received assurances that it would be the last time, and that the borders were going to be secured thereafter.
He does hit the nail on the head. I can’t help but think that Bush is getting what he deserves.
The point of the article and subsequent comments of the thread should be that Bush has failed miserably in articulating conservatism. He had a Republican majority and did virtually nothing with it. Key Republicans defected and became RINOs, and Bush supported RINOs over conservative Republicans.
Like I said Johnny, you don't get it, you're nothing more than a partisan hack who repeat RNC talking points and falsehoods and attack the very people who is trying to save both the GOP and conservatism itself.
Do we blame Lincoln for his McClellan troubles, too?
The Bushes are chumps. George H.W. Bush gave Ted Kennedy his eponymous award for "public service" a mere 4 days after Kennedy called his son--the President-- a "liar" on the Senate floor. I'm sorry, a "gentleman" doesn't ignore the vicious insult and give the award anyway. A chump does. A real man cancels the award, and gives it to someone worthy.
Cool email to Scotty from Bob Dole:
“There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who dont have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. “No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.”
Michael Marshall, Dole’s spokesman and colleague at the Alston Bird law firm, confirms the message came from the former senator and presidential candidate. “Yes, it is authentic,” Marshall wrote in an email.
“In my nearly 36 years of public service I’ve known of a few like you,” Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. “No doubt you will ‘clean up’ as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, ‘Biting The Hand That Fed Me.’ Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years”
Dole assures McClellan that he won’t read the book — “because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job”
“That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively,” Dole concludes. “Youre a hot ticket now but dont you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?”
He signs the email simply: “BOB DOLE”
(even Dole can fight back better than us, lol)
I successfully DID run for office........and I still agree with the premise of the above article.
And the above article is another unproductive bore, same old stuff we have knows since l999, when President Bush ran as a “compassionate” conservative.
And he defeated the Conservatives running against him in the 2000 primaries, no Conservative candidate challenged him in 04, and he beat the liberal Dem, John Kerry.
And the few Conservatives in the House and Senate never really battled him legislatively, when they very well could have.
Either way its just more unproductive sniveling.
Anyway, where are all the Conservative candidates running for Federal and State offices????????? Where do I send my cash, where do I volunteer?
The left wing of the GOP who are currently running things shot themselves in the back.
To the American citizens of the United States when he said...
,,(to the millions who called, faxed, wrote ....begging, pleading with him to not sign the amnesty bill)...
"See you at the signing"...
That type of loyalty?
Hey, thats hilarious. Very clever, score one for you.
In fairness it is not the media it is Bush himself. There are many Freepers such as myself who have been posting for years that George Bush is the essential problem. Here is a post which I published as a vanity some hours after the 06 election debacle. If you read through it you will see that it was clear well before that election that we were sleepwalking toward disaster and George Bush was the head zombie. Here is the post:
WHY WE LOST
The Republican Party in general and George W. Bush in particular sustained a stinging rebuke from the American electorate. The Republicans lost control of the house and of the Senate. The agenda moves to the Democrats. The power of the purse moves to the Democrats. The power of the subpoena moves to the Democrats. The power to impeach moves to the Democrats. The power to affect foreign policy by, for example, defunding the war moves to the Democrats. The power to appoint conservative judges has been greatly compromised as has been the power to confirm appointments such as ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Defense.
The Republican Party has ruptured the bond that held it to the majority of the people of the United States since 1994. When the polls say that the people trust the Democrats more than Republicans on taxes, it means, as Newt Gingrich has said, they fired us because they don't trust us. It is as simple as that, the party has lost the trust of the people.
The Democrats have ideally positioned themselves to strike for the presidency in 08. It has extended its governorships, Senate seats and control, House seats and control, and other levers of power. The Democrats have enhanced their ability to raise campaign funds and compromised the Republicans' ability to do so. Perhaps worse, the Democrats have turned the tables on the Republicans. It is Republicans now who are without a platform, without an identifying philosophy and without an articulate spokesman to advance their cause.
The Democrat party is extending its tentacles into the red states and the Republican Party is in grave danger of becoming a sectional party with an ever declining census and a bunker mentality.
Why did it happen?
( in the original vanity I ascribe the overriding cause of the 06 debacle to be the Iraq war and went on to discuss subordinate clauses. I omit that argument about the war now because I know that it will provoke a discussion with you if I were to recount it and that is not my purpose. My purpose now is to articulate the mortal peril which now confronts us. On that at least, I know we will agree)
There are many subordinate reasons why this calamity happened and it is necessary to identify them and assign weight to them so that the important ones can be addressed and corrected.
One such reason can be addressed and could have been corrected, or at least mitigated: It is quite normal for a political party in the sixth year of the presidency to lose the Senate and House seats. In some respects, it was to be expected that this would occur now. Clinton, however, was able to resist this historical trend but those were rather special circumstances.
Similarly, history shows the political parties, after 12 years in power, tend to become arrogant, cynical, and corrupt and that certainly has happened to the Republicans in spades. The voters have just cured the arrogance dimension of this equation but it remains to be seen if the corruption has been rooted out. The "values voters" will tell us in the next election if the Republicans have abandoned their cynicism.
Other reasons are less easily identifiable and more subjective in nature. One goes to the very essence of the character of George Bush. I've long published that he is not a movement conservative, in fact he is not a conservative at all but rather he is a patrician with loyalties to family, friends, and country. His politics are animated not by conservative ideology but by a noblisse oblige which, as a substitute for political philosophy, move him to act from loyalty and love of country. The result of this is that he does not weigh his words and actions against a coherent standard grounded in conservatism, but instinctively reacts to do what is right for family, friends, and country. Thus we get Harriet Meirs, pandering to the Clintons and Kennedys, prescription drug laws, campaign finance laws, runaway spending, and the war in Iraq. The conservative movement is left muddled and confused and the Republican Party undisciplined and leaderless. In these circumstances all manner of mischief is possible beginning with corruption and indiscipline in the ranks. To be effective, a president must be feared as well is loved. A President is more than just Commander in Chief and Chief Executive of the nation, he is the titular head of his party and he must rule it. If Bush was willing to pander to the likes of Teddy Kennedy, what did Senator John McCain have to fear from him? Bush has utterly failed in his role as head wrangler of the Republican Party.
Other subjective reasons for the debacle involve Bush's personal character. He is essentially a nonconfrontational man who would rather operate through collegiality than through power. This is reinforced by his Christian belief and he will almost literally turn the other cheek. So, his loyalty to family and friends affects his appointments and produce mediocrities like Brown at FEMA and Ridge at Homeland Security and Harriet Meirs. It makes him shrink from prosecuting the crimes of his enemies even to the point of overlooking real security lapses committed by The New York Times. It makes it very difficult for Bush to discipline his troops and fire incompetent or disloyal subordinates. Instead he soothes them with the Medal of Freedom.
(One cannot help but draw attention to the current mess with Scott McClellan in the context of the preceding paragraph.)
George Bush is a singularly inarticulate man. When he is not delivering a prepared speech, his sincerity and goodness of character come through, but his policies often die an agonizing death along with the syntax. The truth is that Bush has never been able, Ronald Reagan style, to articulate well the three or four fundamental issues which move the times in which we live. One need only cite the bootless efforts to reform Social Security as an example. His inability to tell America why we must fight in Iraq to win the greater worldwide war against terrorism, or how we are even going to win in Iraq, has been fatal to the Republicans' chances in this election. Of course, one can carry this Billy Budd characterization too far and it is easy to overemphasize its importance, but it is part of the general pattern which has led us to this pass. It is a very great pity that the bully pulpit has been squandered in the hands of a man so inarticulate. That the bully pulpit was wasted means that there are no great guiding principles for the country, for the party, for the administration, for Congress to follow, or for the voters to be inspired by. If the voters went into the booth confused about what the Republican Party stands for, the fault is primarily George Bush's.
There are structural problems for the Republicans as well. By the demographic breakdown of the Northeast and the ambitions of senators such as McCain, there was no coherent Republican policy in the Senate. It is in the nature of the Senate that wayward senators are difficult to bring to heel in any circumstance and Bush's inability properly to act as party leader has given Mavericks a green light to commit terrible damage to the Republicans' electoral posture. This demographic trend is destined to get worse and the self survival instincts of what is left of the Republican Party outside of the South will only become more acute and lead to more defections. Other senators, even when not motivated by personal ambition or demographic problems in blue states, felt free to engage in an extravaganza of corrupt spending to benefit their districts and soothe their contributors. There is a regrettable tendency to under emphasize the demographic handicap under which we conservatives struggle. Here is what I posted, before the election:
Perhaps now is not the time but certainly after Santorum is defeated we conservatives must face the reality that the electoral map is shrinking. We are unable to make inroads into the blue states (these New Jersey an anomaly due to parochial corruption) while we remain vulnerable and virtually all of the border states, Tennessee, Missouri, West Virginia, Maryland (actually a lost cause). Now even the Old Dominion is threatened. Ohio may be as difficult as Pennsylvania after this cycle.
Demographics will soon turn Florida and Texas away from us and, with the loss of either one of them, conservatism has no hope of putting a president in the White House.
Bush failed to provide leadership on spending. Merely cutting taxes is only one leg of the stool, fiscal discipline must be maintained. Failing to impose party discipline is a grave sin, but Bush magnified it exponentially with the mindless prescription drug entitlement, farm supports, and educational spending. If Bush can have his prescription drug program that nobody wanted, why cannot Senator Stevens in Alaska have his bridge that nobody needed? Bush not only failed to set the proper example in fiscal discipline, he affirmatively set the wrong example of profligacy.
Press bias, says you?. One need only cite the unrelenting hostility of the Washington Post against Senator Allen to demonstrate Republican difficulties in this area. Allen's real opponent was the Washington Post. But this is not new, the Washington Post did the same thing to Ollie North several cycles ago and will do so again whenever it gets the chance. Republicans have been able to overcome this handicap in recent elections, so long as they had an effective affirmative story to tell. In fairness to the Republicans, it is true to say that the hostility of the press has reached even more egregious dimensions as a result of the war in Iraq. The remedy for this is to get a policy and tell your story well. In short, set the agenda, one which the public hears and understands in spite of the media. The classic example of this is Newt Gingrich's brilliant contract with America in 1994 in which he stole the entire agenda right out from under the noses of the drive-by media. I think their visceral hatred of Gingrich has as much to do with this coup as it does with the actual right wing policies contained in the contract with America. If one is not willing to accept the world as it is with all of its media bias then one is ultimately confounded. If one cannot move until press bias is corrected, then one cannot move on until the bias in academia or in immigrant groups is eliminated. The scale will never be balanced and conservatism, too anguished to move, will never find another majority.
While some exit polls say that only 7% of voters regarded immigration as the important issue, I am personally convinced that the percentage is much higher among conservatives and, anyway, the implications for the Republican Party and the conservative cause of unchecked illegal immigration is nothing short of catastrophic. Bush bashing or not, the cold reality is that George Bush has willfully and deliberately failed to to enforce the nation's laws on immigration. Bush has simply got a blind spot here, he wants amnesty and, by God, now he is going to get it because the Democrats are going to give it to him. The only hope for sanity in controlling immigration has died with Republican control of the House. Bush's duty was to enforce existing law against employers who seek unfair competitive advantage by hiring illegals at substandard wages. Now we have upwards of 30 million illegals in America and there is no conservative branch of government that can stop these people getting the vote eventually and, believe me, they will not vote conservative in my lifetime. Bush's stealth legacy to the Republican Party will become apparent as he exits the White House and Republicans remain in minority status for as long as the eye can see. Bush's dereliction in this regard justifies every conservative in turning his face from Bush and many did on election Day.
Lest this become a Bush bashing fest, let us note that Congressmen and Senators are for the most part alpha males (and sometimes bitchy females) who quite rightly should be expected to do the right thing without the fear and admonition of the President. But they did not. The single most appropriate word which identifies the Republican Congress before the election is, "arrogance" - although "greed" must run a very close second. Winston Churchill once said of the Socialist Clement Atley, "he is a very modest man, and he has much to be modest about." Running the gamut from sordid affiliations with K street lobbyists and the Abramoffs of the world, to unseemly earmarks, and continuing all the way to outright venality, the Republicans have much to be more than modest about. The voters have just dealt them their comeuppance and it is long overdue. But elections are blunt instruments for weeding out corruption; the voters wrath, like God's rain, falls on the just and the unjust alike. So honest and incorrupt conservative representatives of the people like Rick Santorum fall with the Cunninghams and the Neys and the Foleys while Democrat Menendez enjoys a pass. While it does not discriminate among Republicans, the voters wrath does discriminate between parties and so their wrath fell disproportionately on Republicans because they are the party in power. This also has been remedied by this election. Finally, in a strange way the voters grim unhappiness with the course of the war in Iraq finds expression in this general repugnance of the corruption and venality and directs it almost exclusively against the Republicans, because they are the party associated with the war. It is human nature to react to an irritant disproportionately when the soul is troubled by larger problems. This identification as the party solely responsible for the war is something the Republicans must remedy in the next two years.
What does being pasty and white have to do with the issue?
The only difference between Scott and the Pillsbury Doughboy is the the Doughboy is better at public speaking and has a more engaging personality.
I still don’t understand. Why are we attacking Whiteness?
My profile page gives my elective office history. I always ran as a conservative Republican.....and never lost a primary or general election, in fact, I mostly finished the highest in the vote count for the office I was running for. All of which shows to go ya it can be done when voters know what you stand for.