C'mon, Scotty, smile! Rod Serling rarely managed a Twilight Zone scene as creepy as this sendoff Chimpy the Prez gave his longtime loyal lapdog. (Poor Scotty looks like he's praying to a different sci-fi icon -- to his Star Trek namesake, to be beamed up, or anywhere away from here.)"McClellan's explosive new book, which alleges that the Bush administration waged a 'political propaganda campaign' in favor of the Iraq war and bungled the response to the storm that devastated the Gulf Coast, prompted a counterattack yesterday from some of his oldest political colleagues, who accused him of disloyalty and questioned his credibility."
Howie has already noted the furious response
by Bush regimists to news of former White House Press Secretary Scotty McClellan's new book
. I'm more struck by the comic element of the fracas. As news of the book's innards tumbled out last night, I really didn't think all that much about it. I figured, well, this should cause the regime gang some temporary embarrassment
-- you know, having such stuff said by such a deep-inside-the-regime insider.
But the revelations themselves? I mean, really now!
Ooh, the bad regime boys (and girl, with Madame Condi's ritual denial duly noted) propaganda-blitzed the country into a war in Iraq. Blah blah blah. Shocking!
Yawn. Come on
now! In May 2008, can there possibly be anyone to whom this is news? And so on with all the "revelations" in the book. Of course I haven't read the thing, but could there be anything in it that would surprise anyone who's been paying even the tiniest attention to the unfolding horror of the Bush regime?
Least of all the gang of conspirators within
the regime, rising now in unison in such self-righteous dudgeon. And they all profess to be shocked, really shocked. The deck on Dan Eggen's Washington Post
story captures (I suppose unwittingly) the hilarity of it:"Former Bush Aide Stuns Many With Critical New Book"
Why, they're beyond shocked, they're stunned
! All the way to the, er, top. We have it on the authority of no less than poor Scotty's most recent successor as White House manure-shoveler, Dana Perino, that the president "is puzzled, and he doesn't recognize this as the Scott McClellan that he hired and confided in and worked with for so many years." (Doesn't it seem possible, even likely
, that if you put a pair of Groucho glasses on Mrs. Chimpy, Chimpy the Prez wouldn't recognize her either?)
Now we all know the brand of comedy that's being played out here, don't we? One hates to invoke yet again the utter shock of the corrupt police Captain Renault in Casablanca
, as voiced so memorably by Claude Rains, at the discovery of gambling in Rick's Cafe Americain. But this wonderful moment has become a cliche precisely because in it the hypocrisy is so perfectly distilled.
Except to the brain-locked class of Beltway insiders, there's no imaginable mystery about "what happened" to poor Scotty. During his long lapdog-like service to George W. Bush, it obviously escaped everyone's attention that while he might have been every bit the schlub he appeared, he may not
have been the doofus and moral cypher normally pressed into service for the moral sinkhole that would be the Bush regime.
Clearly there were glimmerings during his service as press secretary that the regime power brokers were lying to him
, and sending him out to the briefing room to spread those lies to the press, and by extension to the American people. Clearly there were instances when he discovered he was being lied to bare-facedly, as with the manure that Karl Rove among others shoveled at him over Plamegate.
Maybe the book spells out the process by which poor Scotty came to understand how badly he had been used by a pack of liars he had foolishly trusted -- and, worse, came to understand that he had been made a cog in their machine for systematically lying to the American people. My guess is that the loyal sad sack started with an alarmingly high doubt threshhold, but that once it was breached, the real story came together increasingly easily.
By the time poor Scotty couldn't take any more and abandoned his liar's podium, it was clear to anyone who was paying attention that something terrible had happened to him. My gosh, who could forget that creepy scene where Chimpy the Prez bade farewell to his loyal retainer, who looked like he was about to walk off into an alien spaceship? It was like a scene out of The Twililght Zone
But of course the Bush regimists weren't paying attention. Poor Scotty was just another lowly functionary who'd been used and now, when his time came, discarded. (Write if you get work!)
However far along poor Scotty was in his path to illumination at the time he left the White House, I'm guessing that the view from outside the Beltway did wonders to clarify and sharpen his vision. Why exactly he went public, especially knowing the kind of humiliation and character assassination that inevitably awaited him, only he himself could explain. If I had to guess, I'd say that there was a spark of decency in him that escaped the notice of the regimists who had been pulling his strings. (We'll speculate a bit more below.)
It's that same spark of decency that turned out to lodge somewhere inside some of the Nixon faithful as the Watergate scandal unfolded. John Dean
, for one, who after all had tried to warn the president that there was a cancer on the presidency, at a time when he was still too naive to realize that the president he had served so loyally was the cancer on the presidency
. Talk about a fish rotting from the head: All the filth and corruption of the Nixon regime traced back ultimately to the mind of the master.
So where, I keep asking, is the mystery in all of this?
Supposedly serious media types tell us, in all supposed seriousness, how mystified all of poor Scotty's former colleagues are by this shocking book. Where could poor Scotty have gotten those crazy ideas?
Now, it could be that some of the Bush loyalists, both within the regime and in the media, are genuinely stumped. Because Bush loyalists (again, both in the media and within the regime) come in two basic flavors: the people who drank the Kool-Aid and the people who served
And it's entirely possible that the Kool-Aid drinkers are
puzzled. For example, all those Bush regime law diplomates who got their "legal training" at Pat Robertson's Regent U. I can believe that many (most?) of them believe that shredding the damned document and lining bird cages with the resulting confetti really is
how a president can best "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
But as for the others, the people who have made the Bush regime function, my gosh, if it weren't so pathetic, and also so semi-serious, it would be hilarious.
Here we have the bloated carcass of Karl Rove
, a man who has never in his benighted life told the truth about anything unless he was playing some other-dimensionally devious angle, blithering bemusedly (on Fox Noise, where else?) about the perfidy and ignorance of poor Scotty. Okay, in fairness to our Karl, it's not as if treating poor Scotty like a schmuck and a patsy is something new, or something that he does only behind his back -- look how long he did it right to the dumb schmuck's face
Thank goodness for Countdown
, where we at least had Keith Olbermann pointing out that the regime's hastily assembled Get Scotty Posse was merely spewing -- what else? -- talking points
! "Why, that doesn't even sound
like our Scotty!"
Well, this may actually be true, because it's doubtful that their Scotty ever talked to them this way when he was shoveling their manure to the ever-eager-for-more White House press corps. Where they apparently went wrong was in assuming that he was just another member of the loyal Kool-Aid Brigade.
last night there was much speculation as to what poor Scotty could hope to gain by writing a book that incriminates himself as much as anybody. Let me throw out a theory. Might this be the necessary first step toward redeeming his soul?
It can happen. The young John Dean paid a heavy price for his involvement in the swamp of Nixonian corruption. The older-and-wiser John Dean has emerged from his crucible as one of our more valuable public figures.
It's a start, Scotty.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
*Although it doesn't really concern us here, there is in fact a third category of Bush loyalist, especially prevalent among the crony capitalists who have been so well served by the regime -- like the war profiteers and other sleazy opportunists for whom each successive regime disaster, regime-made or otherwise, represented another potential bonanza. The cronies didn't need to drink the Kool-Aid because they didn't need to believe any of the regime's pathetic mock-patriotic cover stories. They understood how the game is played: You make the payoffs so you can cash in on the paydays.
Labels: Bush foreign policy, Casablanca, Claude Rains, Countdown, Dana Perino, John Dean, Karl Rove, Keith Olbermann, Scott McClellan