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When You Don’t Like The Message, Attack The Messenger

by @ 1:00 pm on May 28, 2008. Filed under George W Bush, Iraq, Politics, Scott McClellan

Joe Gandelman notes that the effort to discredit Scott McClellan has already begun:

Mark Halperin, noting that the book has dominated the morning news/talk shows, has these tidbits:

NBC quotes a response from a former White House “senior adviser”:

“This book has left many of Scott’s closest friends puzzled and shocked… He never expressed any reservations while serving. To do so in a highly publicized book is what makes people lose faith in those who work in Washington.”

Karl Rove on Fox News:

“That doesn’t sound like the Scott I know, it sounds like a left-wing blogger… If he had these moral qualms, he should have spoken out about them.”

[See the Rove video HERE]

Halperin notes that McClellan will be appearing on the Today Show Thursday — which means you can expect to see a lot more comments aimed at him and his book to take the edge off it and discredit him and his allegations. (He must be acting like a leftist…he must be a disgruntled employee…he must be writing what he’s writing and exaggerating to get money for his book…)

Rove’s comment is particularly telling: he automatically likens McClellan to a “left-wing blogger,” which pushes the political hot button among Fox viewers.

Expect more of the same in the next few days. And you can guess what Rush and Sean will be saying about McClellan on their shows today: they’ll focus on going after McClellan a la Rove and the unnamed quote, but avoid, downplay or dismiss outright the allegations.

Well, Rush, of course, is carrying the Bush Administration’s water on this one as he already does — his first caller of the day was a woman who cried on the phone and talked about patriotism and “how dare” McClellan attack the President. I’m sure Hannity and Mark Levin will continue the party line.

But here’s the thing — they’re attacking the man, not the substance of what he says — and they’re not even addressing his assertion that the Bush Administration deliberately mis-led the public in the run up to the Iraq War.

If that’s true, then the past five years have, for the most part, been a complete lie. Why that doesn’t anger people who claim to believe in this country is totally beyond me.

13 Responses to “When You Don’t Like The Message, Attack The Messenger”

  1. ginsocal says:

    Hmmm. First of all, the book just came out, so I doubt anyone has had a chance to read it, and then respond to any allegations. The issue today, is why this douchebag served (rather poorly, I might add) for years in an administration he apparently loathed. To say he is a coward, and utterly without honor is a gross understatement.

    The assertion that the administration misled the public before the war is blatantly false. There were a number of issues laid out prior to the war, all of which were valid. Good enough that an otherwise hostile Congress gave the green light. To claim that these were all lies now, is, well, complete bullshit.

  2. Show me one time prior to March 2003 when the Bush Administration portrayed the War in Iraq as anything other than a crusade against WMDs.

    Point me to one administration official who talked about going to war in Iraq to bring democracy to a country that has never had such a thing.

    It never happened.

  3. D.J. McGuire says:

    How about when Colin Powell presented the evidence of Ansar al-Islam in Iraq to the United Nations in February of 2003?

    He also mentioned al-Zarqawi (in Baghdad since summer of 2002) in that speech.

    I wish the Administration had focused more on the al Qaeda angle (Saddam was particularly close to Osama’s #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri), but that didn’t change the facts on the ground.

    I know I’m one of only six people left who are willing to say this, but the liberation of Iraq was the right thing to do.

  4. Cato says:

    Doug,

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air and a world of partisan hacks! The same people who are today hacking McClellan apart are the same who still use folks like Dick Morris, Gary Aldrich, etc as “experts” on the Clinton White House. Each side is so predictable, nauseating!!

  5. DJ,

    Because then the American people would not have supported a full scale war (a war which was never properly authorized pursuant to the Constitution, I might add), which is what Wolfowitz and the neocon nitwits wanted.

  6. Cato,

    I’m waiting for Fox News Channel to have Dick Morris commenting on Scott McClellan’s personal motives for betraying the man who made his career.

    Because, you know, Dick’s an expert at that one.

  7. ginsocal says:

    I would note that regime change had been the official policy of the U.S. government since 1998, under the Clinton administration. Saddam was clearly in violation of several U.N. resolutions, as well.

    Anyway, feel free to attempt to defend the primary issue of McClellan’s abject cowardice. If he felt this strongly about it, he would have quit years ago-an honorable action. But, clearly, he is entirely unfamiliar with the term “honor.”

  8. And you, my friend, feel free to defend the fact that the Bush Administration lied its way into war.

    As someone who actually supported the war in the beginning, I feel deceived and lied to.

    It is not the job, or the right, of the United States to make the Middle East “safe for democracy” or to engage in precisely the kind of insane nation building that, as a Presidential candidate, then Governor Bush criticized openly and frequently.

  9. Libertarian says:

    Um, yeah, I can see how the “abject cowardice” of a spokesman unwilling to part with a high-paying job is on a par with conducting an unnecessary war.

    By the way, I listened to a bit of Hannity today and Doug, et al, called it: he attacked McClellan…he did not defend Bush.

  10. CR UVa says:

    “I feel deceived and lied to.”

    And all it takes is the words of one man to make you feel this way? Honestly, I don’t know whether McClellan is telling the truth or not, but I do wonder why you get so offended by this, but then ignore this.

    You question the integrity of the attacks on one man, but I do see this. You throw out the integrity of many men by unquestionably trusting one man. Maybe not explicitly, but this is definitely the case.

    And Ari Fleischer, a man who worked directly with Scott McClellan for years, questioned his motivation. Say what you want about everyone commenting here, but I think Fleischer has good reason and good basis to wonder why he never heard about this from McClellan before.

    The current responses are based, at least in part, on knee-jerk reactions (unfortunately Doug, yours do not seem to be an exception, particularly the hypocrisy of attacking people for their thoughts on this topic). But over the coming days, we’ll hear more rational defenses of President Bush’s plans involving Iraq and the Middle East, and perhaps the truth will be made obvious to everyone, one way or the other.

  11. CR UVa,

    First of all, there’s no news in what Congressman Kangjorski said — anyone with a brain would know that, politically and Constitutionally, Congress has limited ability to stop a war, albeit one not properly authorized pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, once it’s started.

    Which is why it was a mistake for Congress to give the President blanket authority to go into Iraq back in 2002. Once they did that, they pretty much removed themselves from the check-and-balance system that the Founders established.

    As for McClellan, the only knee-jerk reactions that I have seen are from the White House and it’s water carriers on talk radio who are spending more time questioning McClellan’s motives than they are addressing the substance of what he’s said.

    Who cares why he wrote the book ?

    If he’s telling the truth, then why he’s doing it doesn’t matter.

    Since I haven’t read the book yet, although it’s ready to be shipped by Amazon, I’m not going to make that determination yet, but what he’s saying deserves to be listened to without attacking the man’s character.

  12. ginsocal says:

    Sorry, Doug, but if your whole world crumbles because a second rate hack like McClellan says you were lied to, then you must be a very fragile individual indeed. The real bottom line is this: we removed a threat. Period. That is the ONLY justification we, as a nation, need. If you need more validation, tough shit. No one needs to provide you or your ilk with any more than what I’ve just said.

  13. ginsocal,

    My world hasn’t crumbled because I lost faith in George W. Bush as a leader a long time ago.

    He’s busted the budget, expanded the powers of the Presidency far beyond where the Founders intended, and, basically, fucked up for the last seven years.

    He isn’t the man who ran for President 8 years ago or, if he is, he basically threw pretty much everything he said out the window when he walked in the front door of the White House.

    How anyone who believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility can still support the man after all he’s done is beyond me.

    McClellan’s account interests me only because we usually don’t see insiders making a public break like this.

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