Permission To Criticize

Why do I find the Scott McClellan story so irritating? There’s the convenient timing of his rep rescue, coming when his former boss is polling worse than V.D. and a comeback is out of the question. The book seems calibrated to reveal nothing that we don’t already know, except for one bit that McClellan might have dropped by accident on a TV show. The Phil Donahue story broke so long ago that I almost can’t bear to watch the media awarding themselves courage medals for confirming the obvious.

Without a doubt the most annoying aspect of this firestorm is the way that it validates a criticism that Atrios makes of the media all the time. We had credible people arguing these same points back when airing them might have made a difference, but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts. The few journalists who did their job were either ignored like McClatchy or fired like Donahue. The evidence wasn’t exactly hidden – guys like Eric Alterman had it in book form while McClellan was still spreading what he now calls propaganda and bullshit. Yet somehow the range of acceptable opinion in the major media stretched from Joe Lieberman to George Bush. Ideas that everybody takes for granted now – that the WMD argument was poorly founded or invading Iraq unprovoked and occupying it indefinitely might have strategic risks – were considered laughably ‘unserious.’ It often seemed like an idea wasn’t worth taking seriously until someone in the administration brought it up.

This latest brouhaha reinforces that point. Scott McClellan wasn’t a very bright or important guy when he served the president, and he isn’t very bright or important now. Yet in the same way that we still call Jimmy Carter ‘President’ McClellan is still a Bushie. Thus, now the press has permission to talk about being willingly led around by power-drunk morons.

It’s nice to hear “respectable” outlets finally acknowledging things I have argued for years, but it leaves the fundamental problem unchanged. I’ll call it progress when self-serving works like McClellan’s get largely ignored in favor of people with a track record of getting things right.






104 replies
  1. 1
    El Cid says:

    I really don’t understand why so many people are turning themselves in circles trying to figure out what they “think” or “feel” about Scott McClellan.

    He has just offered a valuable insider / participant / eyewitness testimony on subjects which had yes, already been addressed with more attainable empirical evidence.

    When former mobsters come out and testify against their previous bosses, or write tell-all’s, I’m not bound to decide what I really think or feel about the turncoat. All I need know is whether or not the addition of that insider / participant / eyewitness testimony adds to the kinds of stories which were necessary to pursue.

  2. 2
    Davis X. Machina says:

    We had credible people arguing these same points back when airing them might have made a difference, but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts.

    In politics, the only thing worse than being wrong is being right too soon. Call it ‘Dean’s Law’, if you will.

  3. 3
    SamFromUtah says:

    I’ll call it progress when self-serving works like McClellan’s get largely ignored in favor of people with a track record of getting things right.

    Yeah, it has been infuriating. The wisdom these days seems to be “sure, these DFHs were saying the right things at the right time, but they weren’t the right people so we couldn’t listen.” And what made you one of the right people was agreeing with the people who were wrong about everything.

  4. 4
    rob! says:

    one of the most refreshing things i find about Obama (and his success) is his seeming unwillingness to allow the Republicans to dictate the terms of the debate. democrats for the last seven years have been allowing Bush and his criminal cadre to set the tone, and–*surprise!*–dems always come up short.

    but Obama is saying “no, this whole line of thinking is bullshit.” hillary never offered more than “i’ll pile up more bullshit than they will.”

    he’s hitting the reset button, something i think the Republicans still don’t fully grasp.

    i look forward to a day when Fox News gets ratings equal with, say, 3am reruns of F-Troop, Glenn Beck is gone entirely, and i wake up to “Morning Maddow” on MSNBC.

  5. 5
    Quiddity says:

    I agree with El Cid’s comment.

  6. 6
    Quiddity says:

    rob! – what’s with dissing F-Troop? That show was great.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    First, beat the Pundits and the Suckup Newsies.

    Then shoot them.

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    TenguPhule, you’ve been harping on this same revolting theme for days. Show a little class.

  9. 9
    srv says:

    but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts.

    If it walks like a cabal, and it quacks like a cabal, it is a cabal.

  10. 10
    TenguPhule says:

    I apologize, Tim F.

    I know I shouldn’t be an asshole, but it really truly and utterly pisses me off that those who initiated the shit storm overhead are going to be at the end of the line to receive it.

  11. 11
    rob! says:

    i look forward to a day when all of Fox News gets ratings equal with, say, their own F-Troop The Half-Hour Comedy Hour, Glenn Beck is gone entirely, and i wake up to “Morning Maddow” on MSNBC.

    fixed. sorry, Quiddity, no F-Troop hatin’ implied.

  12. 12
    southpaw says:

    What El Cid said.

    It’s also worth noting that what McClellan has done, while demonstrably winning him no friends on the left, also earned the enmity of everyone on the right (some of whom can be rather unpleasant to people they don’t like). While his book will earn him some cash, McClellan has volunteered to be ostracized by pretty much everyone in his professional life. That took some guts. And he’s the first top-level aide from this White House to come out with something like this. I don’t love the guy, but take it easy on him.

  13. 13
    JoyceH says:

    Who watched the interview with McClellan on Countdown? I did, and you know what surprised me the most? The guy can talk! I’m not saying he’s a genius or a stunning orator, but he can carry on a conversation and make sense.

    All that time when he was briefing the press, he was so inarticulate, so hesitant and stammering and repeating himself, I thought he must be borderline retarded or at least profoundly stupid. I thought the book tour interviews were going to be sheerly painful to watch. But whether you agree with him or not, he can speak about his subject like a reasonable person of at least moderate intelligence.

    Which leads me to believe that in all his time as press secretary, his real role was to serve as a target for the media – the administration just shoved him out to the podium knowing exactly nothing except for the several items that were his assigned talking points of the day.

  14. 14

    Tim
    I look at McClelland’s book this way:
    Does it hurt BushCo – Yes
    Does it hurt McSame – Yes
    Does it keep the stupid in the news – Yes
    Is it a BushCo saying what we’ve been saying – Yes

    Why would I mind that? I don’t have to like Scott, I don’t have to buy the book, I’m not paying his salary anymore – looks like a win to me. Is an election season good for sales? Probably, but it also seems toxic for Republicans at this election. I like that much more than I resent any profits he gets.

  15. 15
    Incertus says:

    one of the most refreshing things i find about Obama (and his success) is his seeming unwillingness to allow the Republicans to dictate the terms of the debate. democrats for the last seven years have been allowing Bush and his criminal cadre to set the tone, and—*surprise!*—dems always come up short.

    Yet another way in which Obama reminds me of Dean. Now if only those damn Iowans hadn’t fallen for that stupid freaking “electability” argument.

  16. 16
    Bill H says:

    Who watched the interview with McClellan on Countdown?

    I watched about half of it. Then I was bored to the point that it was either turn the tv off or shoot myself. The former seemed less permanent and somewhat less traumatic, so I did that.

  17. 17
    Joshua Norton says:

    Good Lord! Do you think this means that zombie queen Dana Parino will write a book next? When I think of her writing anything I sort of envision her with a blank smile and turning big letters on a wall, one at a time, kind of like an even more brain-dead version of Vanna White.

  18. 18
    Josh E. says:

    All I can say is this doesn’t sound like the Scott McClellan I knew. Doesn’t look like him either – not enough flop sweat.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    shorter scotty: y’all wanna know what you’ve known for about….shit….4 years?

  20. 20
    cay says:

    Which begs the question, why do Valerie Plame and her husband support the candidate (Clinton) who supports the meme that if you repeat a statement enough, it’s true? Unbelievable.

  21. 21
    Eric says:

    I remember seeing one in a list of Real Time with Bill Maher episodes on You Tube with McClellan as a guest from April 13, 2007. I had misgivings against viewing that one but in retrospect perhaps I should have. Maybe Bill snapped him from out of his Bush worshiping fantasy back to the real world on that very episode.

  22. 22
    jrg says:

    All that time when he was briefing the press, he was so inarticulate, so hesitant and stammering and repeating himself, I thought he must be borderline retarded or at least profoundly stupid.

    He did say in the interview that he was not permitted to “get out too far in front” of the president WRT public statements. He was probably stammering because his job was to stonewall past anything a senior administration official had not already stated to the press.

    He strikes me as being like a very sharp Enron intern. He knew something wasn’t right, but he had neither the experience, cynicism, or historical context to put it together. I doubt he could have done something about the war even if he spoke up in 2004, he would have been just another traitor hippie like Streisand, Clooney, the Dixie Chicks, and a sizable minority of Dems in congress.

    That said, screw him and his book. I’m not going to finance this dimwit’s personal catharsis. To anyone who’s read lefty blogs since 2004, these revelations are about as fresh as a rerun of “The Real World”.

  23. 23
    John Cole says:

    Just going to throw this out there- Chris Cornell rocks.

  24. 24
    ThymeZone says:

    I would be a little more impressed with the “Scott is cashing in” theme if it weren’t being advanced by hairsprayed pundits who cash in every fucking day, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, leaving us to fend for ourselves out here in the wilderness.

    I say, let Scott cash in. Let the truth get out, however it gets out. It’s the truth that matters, not who tells it or who gets the royalties. Just get it out.

  25. 25
    Krassen says:

    cay,
    the Wilsons want revenge. they think Obama will be too nice.
    I am a bit torn. On one hand we need to move forward. On the other hand, the moral and healing power of serving justice to restore confidence in the system should not be underestimated.

  26. 26

    McClatchy defends its record as Knight Ridder in lead up to Iraq War. Not everybody rolled over, but they sure got a lot of attention for some top quality work didn’t they?
    KR had a solid rep but all of MSM ignored them. That alone could get a person to question just what the hell was going on with the rest of MSM.

    Scott poses a quetion regarding liberal media the poses even more question if you look at one chain’s record versus everybody else.

  27. 27
    bago says:

    What project? Soundgarden?

  28. 28

    zombie queen Dana Parino will write a book next?

    oh jeeze, send her out to buy some clothes, put her someplace decorative, and stuff a sock in her mouth.

  29. 29
    moderate indy says:

    The reason His book is important is because the right wing spends all its time trying to muddy the waters when it comes to facts about anything, global warming, Iraq and WMD’s etc etc. One of their favorite talking points when it comes to whether or not the Bushies were lying or obfuscating on any number of issues was the tried and true…..that’s just the lies of Bush haters, they don’t know because they weren’t there. That argument is blown out of the water quite a bit by this guy. When a long-time loyal Bushie, disgruntled or not comes out and says……yes those critiques by people on the left, and other journalists were spot on, that carries weight and is important. Did he say anything that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? No. But confirmation by one of the principal players and someone that can’t really have his bona fides as a Bush friend challenged is important. Why because, it takes away just about the last even slightly legit argument that the 30 percenters have to justify their support for Bush. Now we have confirmation from a close long time ally that many of the critics were right. Of course the facts don’t ever sway these guys so in the end I suppose it’s not really important, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take unmeasured satisfaction from throwing this in the face of those that are of the right wing persuasion.

  30. 30
    DrDave says:

    I look at McClelland’s book this way:
    Does it hurt BushCo – Yes
    Does it hurt McSame – Yes
    Does it keep the stupid in the news – Yes
    Is it a BushCo saying what we’ve been saying – Yes

    Why would I mind that? I don’t have to like Scott, I don’t have to buy the book, I’m not paying his salary anymore – looks like a win to me. Is an election season good for sales? Probably, but it also seems toxic for Republicans at this election. I like that much more than I resent any profits he gets.

    I agree completely. Most of us have been saying the same things for years. But this is confirmation from a former high administration official while the administration is still in office (when did that last happen?). At the least, we can enjoy the sense of schadenfreude that comes with McClellan’s confirmation. At the most, it can be used to further wound McCain for wanting to continue Bush’s Iraq policy.

  31. 31
    Xenos says:

    McClellen’s book is important because it is corroboration of what we already know, and what the Bushies have tried to deny by sheer force of will and message discipline. The moral and legal crimes of the Bushies are so thorough and extensive that one hesitates to accept the awful truth – that there has been a corporatist/authoritarian coup, and that we let it happen – unless someone inside states it in such a way we can not avoid it.

    (By the royal ‘we’ here I mean the bulk of middle-america: people who think they are non-political, who are busy with daily life and more than a bit lazy in regard to their public duties. People like me, who were willing to buy a lot of the propaganda, and who shoulda known better. I let myself be duped, I screwed up, I am disappointed in myself, and I am sorry.)

    When you get an insider to corroborate hearsay and circumstancial evidence, you finally get an undeniable fact that can not be ignored. So this is important because it makes the corporate media admit they served us all a shit sandwich.

    What I find interesting is how McClellan constructs the narrative of his betrayal of the Bushies. Everytime he was pressed by Olberman on why he did not speak up and object, he goes back to why he worked for Bush back in 1999: the bipartisanship approach, the claims to change Washington. It makes a nice story, but is does not answer the question. Either McClellen can not face up to his sins of ommission, or he needs to dress up his betrayal of the American people in a context of Bush betraying his less cynical followers.

    Either way, I would have a lot more respect for McClellan if he would just admit he was duped, and that he fooled himself about what was right, and that he screwed up his duty to the rest of us, that he was disappointed in himself, and that he was sorry.

  32. 32
    jake says:

    We had credible people arguing these same points back when airing them might have made a difference, but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts.

    But Tim, you can’t go after a popular president unless he’s gotten a B.J.! Surely you know that. If Bush weren’t less popular than the clap McClellan might well be dismissed as a malcontent. And by doing it this way the media gets to fill part of the 24hr cycle with navel gazing about “How could we have been so blind?” and “Why didn’t people speak up?” and I will puke into a boot and send it to CNN.

    I’ll call it progress when self-serving works like McClellan’s get largely ignored in favor of people with a track record of getting things right.

    I’ll call it progress when the McClellans of the world make a big stink while this shit is going on.

    I’d willingly trade a million Tell All books for the unimpeachable testimony of a couple of witnesses during an actual trial.

  33. 33
    Wilfred says:

    Nothing will change. Bushco is already using the same tactics in trying to pitch the Kill Iranians story. The only thing that might help is if people starting educating their children to think critically and to, gasp, QUESTION AUTHORITY, which is the only lesson to draw from any of this.

    Take yesterday’s ABC news gem:

    Senior U.S. officials tell ABC News that in recent months there have been secret contacts between the Iranian government and the leadership of al Qaeda. It’s a development that has caught the attention of top officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence community.
    Iran / Al Qaeda ties
    Senior U.S. officials tell ABC News that the government of Iran and al Qaeda leadership have secretly been in contact regarding the status of several of the terror group’s high-level operatives under house arrest in that country.

    According to U.S. officials familiar with highly sensitive intelligence on this issue, the contacts are on the status of high-level al Qaeda operatives, including two of Osama Bin Laden’s sons, who have been under house arrest in Iran since 2003. The officials don’t believe Iran will allow these operatives to go free, but said they don’t know Iran’s motivation for initiating the talks.

    A simple exercise in critical thinking would expose this nonsense for what it is – a government propaganda plant.

  34. 34
    Fulcanelli says:

    Krassen Says: cay,
    the Wilsons want revenge. they think Obama will be too nice.
    I am a bit torn.

    Yeah, what’s up with the Joe & Valerie Wilson’s support of Hillary? Is there a link with a quote or something saying them thinking Obama would be too nice?

    I don’t see a Hillary Justice dept., fangs bared, going after BushCo and the Rethugs for it’s treasonous criminal hijinx for about oh, 50 different reasons – all leading to wanting to extract as much political capital, markers and favors as from the the 28%ers and the Goopers as possible in exchange for stalling, obfuscating and burying the evidence.

    After them playing snugglebunnies with Scaife, Limbaugh, FOX noise and the rest of the right’s media enablers for their blessing of her candidacy, they’d eat her alive if she pulled a Nuhrenberg on BushCo. It’s too juicy a political plum to just use up and throw away, and the Clintons sweat politics.

    Obama doing it on the other hand would dovetail nicely with his his whole gig about change and cleaning up DC, although it’s gonna be ugly, fo sho. I’ll bring the popcorn.

  35. 35
    kind of an off white says:

    I’m willing to cut a guy a lot of slack when he single-handedly makes it harder for these fuckers to attack Iran. Probably giving him too much credit here, but halfway through his Countdown appearance I started thinking “holy shit, he knows they wanna open a third front, and he’s throwing a monkey wrench.” Then KO basically goaded him into saying it, so now I’ll never know if it was truly his intent or not.

    Look, it’s fine to say that he should’ve torpedoed the administration from the podium, but you’ve gotta grade public servants on a curve. Our government is what, 98% self-serving, boat-non-rocking jagoffs? Whatever his motivation, this is a far greater public service than, oh, I don’t know, the Goddamn Senate majority leader dicking around with a book about his rustic roots instead of doing his fucking job, say. Never mind all the sinking-ship deserters who preceded him.

    Disclosure: I just can’t help but feel for such a grade-A loser. You do realize that he’s ALWAYS looked and sounded like that, right? He just sold out the only people who’ve ever let him get within a block of the cool kids’ table. Sure, he probably only did it out of revenge for getting hung out to dry like a chump, but lots of Bush acolytes don’t even have THAT much self-respect.

  36. 36
    RSA says:

    TenguPhule, you’ve been harping on this same revolting theme for days. Show a little class.

    Intolerably bad puns there, Tim F. We’ll make sure you’re first up against the wall, etc.

  37. 37

    When you get an insider to corroborate hearsay and circumstancial evidence, you finally get an undeniable fact that can not be ignored. So this is important because it makes the corporate media admit they served us all a shit sandwich.

    I agree with the larger point you are making here but most of us on the Left need no further corroboration of the facts. The only real service McClellan provides is as Steve Clemons says in this very fine piece at TPM Cafe:

    This doesn’t change what has happened and that Scott McClellan was part of the Bush machine — but the fight over this president’s legacy and awareness of the crimes this administration propagated really do matter. The political left really doesn’t need to be convinced, but many on the political right do.

    McClellan’s book is important from that standpoint. The establishment media will require further mocking.

    I just can’t help but feel for such a grade-A loser.

    I can. If Scott were to pledge his proceed to those injured or killed by this gang of war criminals I might feel a smidgen of compassion.

    1. 4000+ dead American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen
    2. Scores of thousands of dead Iraqis
    3. Abrogation of the 4th Amendment
    4. Torturing prisoners
    5. Disgraceful and inadequate services for wounded Vets and their families
    And on, and on , and on. He was the mouthpiece for these war criminals. No mercy for McClellan.

  38. 38
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    McClellan’s book is worth it just to see how it provokes the blow dried bullshitters of the media to get all defensive and insist that they did so do journalism and stuff in the run up to Iraq.

  39. 39
    SnarkyShark says:

    Just going to throw this out there- Chris Cornell rocks.

    Yep, Dude can sing. His voice is more like an instrument really.

    What project? Soundgarden?

    I liked Audioslave better, and it showcased his vocals more.

    Be Yourself, and I am the Highway are top songs on my I-Pod.

  40. 40
    Shinobi says:

    Even Shorter McClellan:
    “The hysterical left wing blog-traitors were right.”

  41. 41
    SnarkyShark says:

    Oh, and as far as Scottie-he has stirred up a shitstorm from hell.

    For some reason, ‘Disgruntled ex-employee’ aint taking.

    It’s a popcorn/car-wreck moment, and I intend to enjoy every sweet moment of it.

  42. 42
    Dulcie says:

    Just going to throw this out there- Chris Cornell rocks.

    Love him – I have a pic of him on my office desk. Audioslave, Soundgarden, solo – I love it all. He’s got a great voice, and he does good lyrics.

  43. 43
    Dulcie says:

    I liked Audioslave better, and it showcased his vocals more.

    Be Yourself, and I am the Highway are top songs on my I-Pod.

    Set it Off is my fave.

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    I agree with the larger point you are making here but most of us on the Left need no further corroboration of the facts.

    Sadly, rallying “most of us on the Left” can make a mean base but it can’t really win an election (outside of Vermont). You need McClellans out there to keep the bullshit on the front page. And McClellan did more than just criticize the White House. He tour into the press. When the press secretary is calling out the press for being pussies… Maybe someone will get a clue.

    Personally, I think we’re headed for another round of early 90s bullshit come ’08. The media is going to tear into non-scandal after non-scandal in a Dem controlled White House and Congress. We’ll hear about how such-and-such Congressperson charged a dinner at the Hyatt on his Congressional credit card (waste!). Or how President Obama accepted a gift of cigars from the ambassador of Cuba (treason!). Or something about a Senator’s cat or a Governor’s Christmas card list, and how it proves Dems are just as corrupt as their Republican counterparts.

    And another $285 billion in wasteful spending reported by the GAO will go generally unnoticed.

    Bleh. The leadership in this country I have hope for. The media? She’s a lost cause.

  45. 45
    Fe E says:

    Before I firmly pass judgenebt on Mr Flop Sweat (which was lacking last night, oddly enough) I’m going to have to wait and see if this is the start of his enlightenment, or its end.

    He surprised me with his ability to reasonably address the BS coming at him from the right wing. Maybe he can keep this story’s legs strong.

  46. 46
    TCG says:

    Dood ran with a bad crowd. And it took quite a while for him to break free.

    So let this be a lesson, stay away from bad influences or you’ll wind up like Scottie.

  47. 47
    jibeaux says:

    I hate to threadjack, but consider this a Bat signal:

    Hillary’s campaign is soliciting T-shirt designs.

    I know, nice and slow over the plate, no? It’s practically t-ball.

    Here are mine, just to warm up —

    Buy This T-Shirt: ‘Cause Hillary wants her $20 Million Back

    I Spent My $16 Gas Tax Rebate And All I Got Was This Hillary T-shirt

    Hillary: ‘Cause Iran is Asking For It

    Vote Hillary — or Mugabe Wins Florida

    MISOGYNIST!

    Hillary: Dammit, It’s Her Turn!

    Hillary: The Republicans Are So Unpopular We Need Someone Virtually Indistinguishable From Them

  48. 48
    The Other Steve says:

    fixed. sorry, Quiddity, no F-Troop hatin’ implied.

    I can’t believe you hate F-Troop. Next you’re going to diss on McHale’s Navy.

    You are clearly an elitist!

  49. 49
    Paul L. says:

    Wow citing Eric “blogging council” Alterman as a authority.
    That is almost as good as the time Tim cited the Brady center astroturf American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA) as an alternative gun rights group to the NRA.

  50. 50
    Dreggas says:

    jibeaux Says:

    I hate to threadjack, but consider this a Bat signal:

    Hillary’s campaign is soliciting T-shirt designs.

    I know, nice and slow over the plate, no? It’s practically t-ball.

    I’m wearing this t-shirt because all of my pant-suits are dirty.

  51. 51
  52. 52

    The whole thing about Scott McClellan’s book is that it’s not just a takedown of BushCo — it’s a takedown of the MEDIA.

    That is why the press is so freaked out about it: They don’t like it when their subservience to BushCo in particular, and the GOP in general, is exposed.

    That’s also why the Knight-Ridder/McClatchy reporters whose work on Iraq was ignored by their “peers” have stepped up to use the occasion to call out those Big Media people who were the worst offenders in the Suckup Sweepstakes.

  53. 53
    Paul L. says:

    his former boss is polling worse than V.D
    But better than the Democratic controlled Congress that you so fervently support.

    I noticed how every media outlet described Congress as the Republican controlled Congress when the Republican were in charge. But now it is just Congress.

  54. 54
    Xenos says:

    The NRA is the original astroturf operation. It was set up and subsidized by the gun manufacturers until it could operate on its own as an autonomous Frankenstein’s monster. As an organization it is committed to maintaining itself by keeping any political settlement, however mild, from taking place on the subject of guns.

    Nice projection there, Paul L.

  55. 55
    JR says:

    PaulL, the low ratings of Congress are because we on “the Left” (whatever) are disgusted and dismayed that Congress hasn’t pulled the rug on this seditious Administration — and we (“The Left”) are the great majority.

    And yes, the “liberal” media loved saying “Republican-controlled” every chance they got. They got cookies from their bosses and a demon got its pitchfork every time the portrayed the conserative Republican movement as large and in charge. It’s a fascist trick, and you are either a willing perpetrator or a fooled tool.

  56. 56
    Tim C. says:

    And ultimately the reason Obama will be the Democratic nominee is because he was not one of the people who went along with the nonsense in 2002. Yeah Senator Clinton had a lot more to lose. So what. It was a time for courage and she took what seemed the safe and easy path. Nuff said.

  57. 57
    cbear says:

    Paul L—I noticed how every media outlet described Congress as the Republican controlled Congress when the Republican were in charge. But now it is just Congress.

    I read your comment and noticed that you’re a moron.

  58. 58
    rob! says:

    comparing popularity rates between the white house and congress is meaningless.

    congress gets hit from both sides–republicans don’t like a dem-run congress, PERIOD, and the dems don’t like that they haven’t done all that much so far.

    being unpopular by two different sides for two polar-opposite reasons is not the same as 70% of the country not approving of an institution that consists essentially of one person–the presidency.

    asking the question whether you approve or not of the President is of course aimed at one guy in this case–chimpy.

  59. 59
    Carol says:

    I’ve noticed I’m not annoyed at McClellan so much, and have been a little surprised at myself, but after pondering it all, this is why:

    McClellan broke free. That’s a good thing.

    He’s burned every bridge with his former Rethug allies, and salted the earth on top of that. No turning back for him.

    What he said is hurting Bush, which will in turn damage McCain. Good.

    From the inside of the Bush administration, he validates what we ‘outsiders’ knew or at least believed/suspected. That has real value.

    He called the media out, which is richly deserved. Yes, he is complicit in this administration’s war crimes…and so is the damned media, which has for the most part been no more than lap dogs for Bush throughout this whole mess. I am very glad to them fuming over being nailed. They’re going to continue raking in large salaries and will doubtless continue to spew vapid tripe. I detest them far more than McClellan.

    It’s OK with me if he profits from his book. I’ve spent a lot of years watching good people avoid EVER speaking out in order to protect jobs/reputation/connections/whatever…and continue to remain silent even when they were “safe”.

    McClellan spoke. And he did so while Bush is still in office. In the end I have some respect for him. He has a price to pay, there is no question about it. Still, hokey as it may sound, I believe in grace and redemption. I’m glad he wrote the book.

  60. 60
    KevinD says:

    his former boss is polling worse than V.D
    But better than the Democratic controlled Congress that you so fervently support.

    I noticed how every media outlet described Congress as the Republican controlled Congress when the Republican were in charge. But now it is just Congress.

    McCain’s Troll Army on the attack

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    Actually, if you follow up on those polls and ask people whose party is at fault for their low opinions of Congress, people cite Republicans then too.

  62. 62
    Paul L. says:

    Xenos, I take it you object to NARAL too?

    As an organization it is committed to maintaining itself by keeping any political settlement, however mild, from taking place on the subject of Abortionguns.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Zifnab says:

    The whole thing about Scott McClellan’s book is that it’s not just a takedown of BushCo—it’s a takedown of the MEDIA.

    That is why the press is so freaked out about it: They don’t like it when their subservience to BushCo in particular, and the GOP in general, is exposed.

    his former boss is polling worse than V.D
    But better than the Democratic controlled Congress that you so fervently support.

    GOP Landslide in ’08! This is it baby! Gingrich-style Revolution, here we come! Just sit back and count the days till it’s all Republican, all the time. Permanent Majority. Oh yeah. Taste the sweetness.

    I mean, that’s what we’re supposed to draw from this statement, right? It’s certainly not the case that even the Nancy Pelosi ultra-leftist San Fransisco Values 110th Congress isn’t communist enough for the American public. That would be preposterous. All the voters just got confused and voted Democrat in ’06 because they thought they were voting for Ronald Reagen. Silly voters. This is why we shouldn’t allow so many people to have that right.

  65. 65
    KevinD says:

    El Cid Says:

    Actually, if you follow up on those polls and ask people whose party is at fault for their low opinions of Congress, people cite Republicans then too.

    This helps show the extent of the problem

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    Paul L. Says: I am the Turd in the Punch Bowl of Life. I am the Pond Scum that Infests the Gene Pool. I am Darkwing Troll!

    Corrected for accuracy.

  67. 67
    cleek says:

    his former boss is polling worse than V.D
    But better than the Democratic controlled Congress that you so fervently support.

    boo hoo

    Let’s start with the economy. When voters know what party each message comes from, we [Republicans] lose 37% to 58% and trail among independents by 18%. Ouch. However, when you read both messages without telling voters who they come from, the story gets worse.

    Republican voters like the Democrat’s message more than their own party’s message by a large 14% margin when they don’t know which party it comes from. Just as disturbing, numbers among independents drop by another 10%… giving the Democrats a massive 28% advantage. Even our horrifically damaged image is better than our message on the economy. Independents and even Republicans simply like the Democrats’ plan more than ours.

    tee hee

  68. 68
    Zifnab says:

    The whole thing about Scott McClellan’s book is that it’s not just a takedown of BushCo—it’s a takedown of the MEDIA.

    That is why the press is so freaked out about it: They don’t like it when their subservience to BushCo in particular, and the GOP in general, is exposed.

    Bleh, lost half my post.

    But yeah. That’s spot on.

  69. 69
    The Moar You Know says:

    Paul L: nice trolling. You don’t know squat about gun politics, that much is painfully obvious.

    The NRA has never once done anything for gun owners. They are masters at positioning themselves as the last bulwark between “Patriotic Americans” and the “gun grabbers, Pelosi, Kennedy, and Clinton” (this is actual verbiage from their last mailer I got – not picking on any of the cited Dems here).

    But every time state level and federal level gun control laws are proposed or implemented, does the NRA do anything save for send out more fundraising letters? No. You’d think they’d, oh, I don’t know, mount a legal challenge to some of these laws, but they always find a way to “negotiate a settlement” instead – one that basically allows the law to go ahead unopposed and the NRA to cash in from their idiot membership. Again.

    Go back to school, tool. Real gun owners know their worst enemies are the faux-grassroots thieves running the NRA.

  70. 70
    Studly Pantload says:

    There a writers’ strike at BJ?

  71. 71
    David Hunt says:

    Low approval ratings for Congress as a whole make for good theatre, but are essentially meaningless. No member of Congress cares very much about those figures. They care about how they, individually, are polling with their constituents. Those are the numbers that tell them how likely they are to be re-elected. I don’t have access to the polling data anymore, but I recall the figures on that front being much better. Scads of people hate Congress, but are still happy with their Congressman and Senators…especially if they’re shipping enough pork in from Washington.

  72. 72
    Jake says:

    Heh. I suspect TalkLeft is going nuclear over this. Good times.

  73. 73
    binzinerator says:

    TenguPhule, you’ve been harping on this same revolting theme for days. Show a little class.

    I apologize, Tim F.
    I know I shouldn’t be an asshole, but it really truly and utterly pisses me off that those who initiated the shit storm overhead are going to be at the end of the line to receive it.

    It’s not revolting or déclassé to want the accomplices, the shills and the co-conspirators of war criminals to get just their just desserts. A passionate desire for some of these people to get their own three feet rope at the Hague is a passionate desire for justice. If they’re fresh out of rope, then why not a firing squad?

    The thought of summarily putting them up against the wall does have a certain vengeful appeal; however, I’d rather see them stand trial. But I know that’s not going to happen, which is part of the reason the vengeful fantasy is appealing.

    If we can’t nail them for their complicity, then the very least we can expose their moral crimes, strip them of their lies and rationalizations, and put them up against the wall to face the bullets of public contempt, ridicule and hostility.

  74. 74
    cleek says:

    Heh. I suspect TalkLeft is going nuclear over this.

    tee hee.

    I’m sorry, but the super-delegates are not paying attention to your candidate anymore.

    cue a Hillaryious chorus of: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!

    of course, that’s a Gandhi quote. and we know how Clinton feels about him

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    BTD may have made it to stage 5:

    In today’s conference call, the Clinton campaign conceded any rules-based or fairness-based argument for the full seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations. The Clinton campaign declared that, unlike Iowa, NH and South Carolina, Florida and Michigan did indeed break the DNC rules and without justification. The Clinton campaign expressly disagreed with the Michigan Democratic Party’s contention that the DNC had selectively enforced its rules by allowing New Hampshire and South Carolina to break the sanctioned primary schedule, that Florida was not entitled to a safe harbor or waiver, and that the DNC had acted properly and within the rules when it stripped Florida and Michigan of its delegates.

    Yep, that’s what we’ve been saying for 6 months now. Florida tried for a safe harbor waiver but it was denied because it was democrats that introduced the date change and the DNC had the video of the state reps trying to move the date, which was obviously not in good faith. Michigan never even tried. Neither state applied for a waiver because neither state applied for one of the two early state slots and clearly wouldn’t have been granted it.

    Nice to see the netsroots ‘leaders’ catching up with the program.

  76. 76
    Rick Taylor says:

    The Clinton campaign expressly disagreed with the Michigan Democratic Party’s contention that the DNC had selectively enforced its rules by allowing New Hampshire and South Carolina to break the sanctioned primary schedule, that Florida was not entitled to a safe harbor or waiver, and that the DNC had acted properly and within the rules when it stripped Florida and Michigan of its delegates.

    The Clinton campaign disagreed with the Michigan Democratic Party’s contention? That’s good news. Perhaps we were too overly cynical after all.

  77. 77
    jibeaux says:

    I don’t know what Clinton did or did not concede today regarding those rules, but I don’t trust that woman as far as I could throw her. She’s not going anywhere.

    And did John sew up a bunch of kittycat clothes last night or what, because we are Out. Of. Thread!

  78. 78
    Darkness says:

    Mr. Williams, who was an anchor on MSNBC at the time, emphasized the climate of “post-9/11 America.” In the early days of the war, he said, he would hear from the Pentagon “the minute they heard us report something they didn’t like.”

    So, hand over the f**king keys to the place to the nearest pentagon offical after changing the signs on the building to read “Pravda”, and go the f**k home. At least be honest with the American people in such a case and shut down operations. Otherwise you are a willing party to the destruction of the constitution, ya’ loser.

    I noticed how every media outlet described Congress as the Republican controlled Congress when the Republican were in charge. But now it is just Congress.

    Yeah, because non-stop disruption through procedural filibustering definitely has no impact on “control”. And it goes on nearly non-stop, something the MSM never bothers to point out, I guess thinking it is too difficult for their 80 IQ audience to grasp, or it just doesn’t fit their government is the enemy meme. Look up Senate Rule 22. Or not, clearly you don’t want to understand anything.

  79. 79
    Batocchio says:

    A good summing up.

  80. 80
    jibeaux says:

    I am much more inclined to believe that BTD is laying a trap rather than we were too cynical. Exhibit A.

  81. 81
    binzinerator says:

    While his book will earn him some cash, McClellan has volunteered to be ostracized by pretty much everyone in his professional life. That took some guts. And he’s the first top-level aide from this White House to come out with something like this. I don’t love the guy, but take it easy on him.

    Damn, why do I keep hearing this kind of crap? This “He showed courage, feel sympathy for him ’cause people still peddling bushie bullshit will tool on him for breaking omerta.”

    It didn’t take any guts. If he had guts he would have done this three, two, even one year ago. He was a rat perched on the last few feet of stern of the sinking S.S. Bushco, and he jumped at the last minute in hopes he might get pulled into a lifeboat.

    No guts here; it was a pragmatic decision and he finally calculated the benefits of abandoning the ship outweighed the perils of putting himself at the mercy of an angry sea.

    Don’t you people wonder: Why now, Scotty?

    Like the rat clinging to the fast-disappearing poop deck railing waiting for the moment to jump, timing is everything. Six months ago and his book offends the same Bushies, the same righties, only they have much more leverage to punish him with. Six months from now, the ballots are counted and Bushco is history, and with it any pretense of Scotty courageously blowing a whistle or bucking his masters. Six months ago it took more guts than he had, and six months from now it would be obvious to any fool it took no guts at all.

    Scotty’s bonus: It’s now the middle of a hotly contested presidential election process. That translates to some extra bucks if you’re selling a book that is relevant to both parties’ campaign messages.

    It is significant that his book tells us nothing we don’t already know. Not stuff we suspected, the stuff that’s been published already. His revelations are generic. For a guy who was Bush’s mouthpiece for two years, doesn’t he have any insights that have the ring of the authentic, of the personal? He has nothing new to say because it’s not really his own story he’s peddling. It’s the story of conventional wisdom of the majority of the nation for the past 2 years, and has been long documented by many honest and courageous reporters, bloggers and whistleblowers — the real people who, you know, showed some guts.

    Nothing Scotty throws hits hard because he’s pulling his punches short. That’s not guts, that’s more cravenness.

    He helped dupe people once, for Bush. Now he’s doing it again, for himself. You should have had his number from the first time around.

  82. 82
    The Other Steve says:

    Before Paul L. brings this up.

    My girlfriend works in the SuperValu corporate offices. Yesterday they received a cryptic notice about cooperating with the FBI.

    Today it came out that the FBI is investigating Maryland Senator Currie, and he had done some consulting work at Shopper’s which is owned by SuperValu.

    Granted it has nothing to do with lacrosse, but Paul L. will use it as evidence that Obama sucks because Currie endorsed him.

  83. 83
    jake says:

    Just going to throw this out there- Chris Cornell rocksed.

    Unless he’s recovered from whatever was afflicting him when he cut his solo album. I hope isn’t the beginning of the downward slide caused by scraping up those screams and high notes over the years.

  84. 84
    Zifnab says:

    So, hand over the f**king keys to the place to the nearest pentagon offical after changing the signs on the building to read “Pravda”, and go the f**k home. At least be honest with the American people in such a case and shut down operations. Otherwise you are a willing party to the destruction of the constitution, ya’ loser.

    I would have settled with a daily disclaimer stating, “We’d like to retract our previous statements about [how much bullshit the Administration tossed in our laps] because the Pentagon says we are being overly investigative and insufficiently patriotic. We apologize to the Pentagon officials in question and want you to know we totally support your candidate in the fall. Thank you.”

    Instead we get a line of paid lobbyists for GOP talking points Generals handed up as experts in the field and as indisputable arbiters of forthcoming success. People complain about astroturf groups like the CEI or the NRA and “think tanks” of Corporate mouthpiece shills like the Heritage Foundation. The major media outlets are clearly in the ranks now, if they weren’t before. It’s depressing.

  85. 85
    jake says:

    His latest solo. Euphoria Morning was Les Awesomes.

  86. 86
    The Moar You Know says:

    Unless he’s recovered from whatever was afflicting him when he cut his solo album. I hope isn’t the beginning of the downward slide caused by scraping up those screams and high notes over the years.

    There’s a second voice change that afflicts men anywhere between their early thirties to early forties. Ask any vocal coach. It’s really noticable with guys who sing high (Geddy Lee, Steve Perry, Robert Plant) but it affects pretty much everyone – most just don’t notice it. I suspect that this may be what is affecting Mr. Cornell.

  87. 87
    Zifnab says:

    Before Paul L. brings this up.

    My girlfriend works in the SuperValu corporate offices. Yesterday they received a cryptic notice about cooperating with the FBI.

    Today it came out that the FBI is investigating Maryland Senator Currie, and he had done some consulting work at Shopper’s which is owned by SuperValu.

    Granted it has nothing to do with lacrosse, but Paul L. will use it as evidence that Obama sucks because Currie endorsed him.

    After the Siegelman scandal and the US Attorney purge, I just can’t take any indictment of a ranking Democrat without a huge grain of salt. I wish I could see less smoke and more fire.

  88. 88
    The Moar You Know says:

    Amen, Darkness.

    Mr. Williams, who was an anchor on MSNBC at the time, emphasized the climate of “post-9/11 America.” In the early days of the war, he said, he would hear from the Pentagon “the minute they heard us report something they didn’t like.”

    Well, I am now willing to concede that Scotty McLellan has done us all a huge favor. The MSM slimebuckets are now crawling out of their holes, pleading “it wuzunt us, the big bad government man made uz do it”.

    Fuck them. Never again will I take a single word from those morons as anything approaching the truth. They are bought and paid for, and their words are worth nothing.

  89. 89
    Joshua Norton says:

    He was a rat perched on the last few feet of stern of the sinking S.S. Bushco,

    Great metaphore. It’s made even better when you witness the kool-aid drugged rats that are still swimming towards the sinking ship.

  90. 90
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    jibeaux Says:

    I hate to threadjack, but consider this a Bat signal:

    Hillary’s campaign is soliciting T-shirt designs.

    I know, nice and slow over the plate, no? It’s practically t-ball.

    Iron this shirt!

    /ducks and runs…

  91. 91
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    ” In the early days of the war, he said, he would hear from the Pentagon “the minute they heard us report something they didn’t like.”

    Shouldn’t that alone have raised the hackles of an actual journalist? What if Williams had reported that fact alone – instead of playing along? The Pentagon? What were they going to do? Draft him? Ruin his manicure? Thanks to meatsacks like Williams we have more than 4000 dead. Thanks to Mr. Williams’ courage and dedication to the truth Bush was a “popular wartime president” long after he and his cronies should have been exposed for the manipulative gang of crypto-fascists they are. Bush owes his second term, and all of the damage done therein, to the likes of Brian Williams.

  92. 92
    Dulcie says:

    There’s a second voice change that afflicts men anywhere between their early thirties to early forties. Ask any vocal coach. It’s really noticable with guys who sing high (Geddy Lee, Steve Perry, Robert Plant) but it affects pretty much everyone – most just don’t notice it. I suspect that this may be what is affecting Mr. Cornell.

    He used to smoke two packs a day. Once he quit, his vocals improved.

  93. 93
    jake says:

    In the early days of the war, he said, he would hear from the Pentagon “the minute they heard us report something they didn’t like.”

    What if Williams had reported that fact alone –instead of playing along?

    EXACTLEEE.

    “The Pentagon has asked us to change an earlier report because …” These people have a 24hr hole to fill, but when presented with a great story they instead decided to run endless loops of pop divas and movie stars driving into curbs.

    Shouldn’t that alone have raised the hackles of an actual journalist?

    YES. SBEA2SQ.

    Being a cynic I think they were afraid their ratings would tank if they didn’t look patriotical enough. Now, when they feel the majority of viewers are more than willing to criticize the Five Sided Figure they’re trying to make a story that will also allow lots of bobble heads to spend hours gazing at their navels. “We shoulda stood up to them. Why didn’t we stand up to them? By God, next time we will stand up to them!”*

    *Offer not valid if McCane gets elected.

  94. 94
    Frank says:

    Temper, temper Tim. I thought that was John until I got to the end and decided “t’s nice to hear “respectable” outlets finally acknowledging things I have argued for years,” was just too much for him to say.

    You’ve been spending too much time around Cole, you should get your blood pressure checked.

  95. 95
    Tim F. says:

    Thanks for sharing, Frank. Patronize much?

  96. 96
    kind of an off white says:

    Iron this shirt!

    Finally, somebody’s paying attention to the “your sexist joke must be at least this funny” sign at the BJ entrance.

  97. 97
    PaulB says:

    The wisdom these days seems to be ‘sure, these DFHs were saying the right things at the right time, but they weren’t the right people so we couldn’t listen.’

    There was some of that, sure, but I think that the real “wisdom” these days is that the DFHs were right for the wrong reasons — e.g., they were “peaceniks” who just happened to be right this one time. They were anti-Iraq-war because they were “anti-war” or because they suffered from “BDS” or because they were “blame-America-firsters,” and so on. It’s nauseating and infuriating but I’ve heard this over and over again.

  98. 98
    Redhand says:

    I know that Godwin’s Rule bars this comment, but after seeing all the trashing of McClellan for his volte face on the Bushies all I could think of was Albert Speer’s Inside the Third Reich.

    Of course Speer’s intellect towered above that of this nebbish, but one parallel remains: Are we better off getting at the truth by having an insider’s “tell all memoir,” even when we know that it contains a sanitized account of the author’s own culpability?

    I think the answer is “yes.” The more obloquy we can pour on the heads of the Bush Administration, the less likely we’ll see anyone try this kind of madness again (I hope).

  99. 99
    binzinerator says:

    It’s made even better when you witness the kool-aid drugged rats that are still swimming towards the sinking ship.

    Yeah, I’m loving that part. You know when a big ship goes down there is often an accompanying suction that pulls those in the water nearby down with it. I hope when the S.S. Bushco makes the plunge to the sea bed it takes with it large numbers of those paddling rats.

  100. 100
    gex says:

    Yeah, I’m loving that part. You know when a big ship goes down there is often an accompanying suction that pulls those in the water nearby down with it. I hope when the S.S. Bushco makes the plunge to the sea bed it takes with it large numbers of those paddling rats.

    Don’t forget most of these guys were on the S.S. Nixon. They didn’t drown then, and probably won’t drown now. And frankly, people I know feel that Cheney is evidence that hell is full and they aren’t taking anymore people, so who knows if we’ll ever be rid of these guys.

  101. 101
    Phoebe says:

    I saw scott interviewed by the boring porcupine on cnn today, and was transfixed. I’m going to buy his book. I know there are no “revelations” in there, because everyone’s said so, but what fascinates me is the mental process of this fellow – “the boring human interest stuff” as Chris Matthews put it, also today.
    I think he knew on some level he was doing something wrong, and it just grew on him, and I want to know exactly that process. Also, his answers to Wolf’s questions were extremely – well, it was as if he were his own press secretary now. I hope he learns to shed that instinct to weasel – it only makes him look like a weasel and he truly has nothing to lose by just fessin’. He should feel the freedom it brings.

  102. 102
    Redhand says:

    I know there are no “revelations” in there, because everyone’s said so, but what fascinates me is the mental process of this fellow – “the boring human interest stuff” as Chris Matthews put it, also today.

    You might also like The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg, which does a great job looking at the mental processes of “The Decider” in trying to figure out “what happened.”

  103. 103

    […] Sorry, Karen, but this doesn’t wash. In the contest of viewpoints between bloggers whose names end in a single letter, I’ll go with Tim F: Without a doubt the most annoying aspect of this firestorm is the way that it validates a criticism that Atrios makes of the media all the time. We had credible people arguing these same points back when airing them might have made a difference, but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts. The few journalists who did their job were either ignored like McClatchy or fired like Donahue. The evidence wasn’t exactly hidden – guys like Eric Alterman had it in book form while McClellan was still spreading what he now calls propaganda and bullshit. Yet somehow the range of acceptable opinion in the major media stretched from Joe Lieberman to George Bush. Ideas that everybody takes for granted now – that the WMD argument was poorly founded or invading Iraq unprovoked and occupying it indefinitely might have strategic risks – were considered laughably ‘unserious.’ It often seemed like an idea wasn’t worth taking seriously until someone in the administration brought it up. […]

  104. 104
    David says:

    Tim F wrote, “I’ll call it progress when self-serving works like McClellan’s get largely ignored in favor of people with a track record of getting things right.”

    Would you re-read what you’re writing, Tim? Unlike other White House insiders (Ari Fleischer, Dan Bartlett, Andrew Card, etc.), Scott McClellan repents by saying he was wrong to be part of a dishonest administration waging a propaganda campaign for war, and that the mainstream media were wrong to fall for that campaign…and you want him IGNORED? Why, because he’s not David Corn writing for The Nation? Why would you want this story ignored? What does it matter who raises its profile, as long as it gets raised?

    I’ll call it progress when justice is served by having Bush is impeached, McCain defeated, and the mainstream media brought to heel over their gullibility, and if it takes a Scott McClellan to trigger those things, so be it.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Sorry, Karen, but this doesn’t wash. In the contest of viewpoints between bloggers whose names end in a single letter, I’ll go with Tim F: Without a doubt the most annoying aspect of this firestorm is the way that it validates a criticism that Atrios makes of the media all the time. We had credible people arguing these same points back when airing them might have made a difference, but somehow they never made onto the Sunday opinion shows or got credible treatment by the major news broadcasts. The few journalists who did their job were either ignored like McClatchy or fired like Donahue. The evidence wasn’t exactly hidden – guys like Eric Alterman had it in book form while McClellan was still spreading what he now calls propaganda and bullshit. Yet somehow the range of acceptable opinion in the major media stretched from Joe Lieberman to George Bush. Ideas that everybody takes for granted now – that the WMD argument was poorly founded or invading Iraq unprovoked and occupying it indefinitely might have strategic risks – were considered laughably ‘unserious.’ It often seemed like an idea wasn’t worth taking seriously until someone in the administration brought it up. […]

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