Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bush Report: McClellan Tells What Happened

When I was a young man in my first year at Flint Community Junior College, confused about all the new things I was learning that did not jibe with my religious indoctrination, I started praying a prayer that I continued for many years. It was, "Lord, show me the truth. Even if the truth is that you don't exist and I'm just talking to myself." I realized then the paradox of praying such a prayer, although I didn't comprehend the naivete that would make me think that I could ever know "THE TRUTH." But I'm happy for the idealism that made me try and continue to try to know "THE TRUTH."

Scott McClellan, who was George W. Bush's main spokesman for three years and before that was deputy press secretary from the beginning of his administration, had a similar naive belief in the truth. I finally got my hands on McClellan's book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception. A graduate of the University of Texas, McClellan says he was very familiar with the inscription carved in stone above the south entrance to the University of Texas Tower, from the Gospel of John: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

McClellan now admits that as Bush's spokesman he didn't always tell the truth, although he claims he didn't intentionally lie. He says in the Preface, page x:
"My own story, however, is of small importance in the broad historical picture. More significant is the larger story in which I played a minor role -- the story of how the presidency of George W. Bush veered terribly off course.

"As press secretary, I spent countless hours defending the administration from the podium in the White House briefing room. Although the things I said then were sincere, I have since come to realize that some of them were badly misguided. In these pages, I've tried to come to grips with some of the truths that life inside the White House bubble obscured."

He goes on to say that while he has friends and former colleagues in the Bush Administration who remain convinced that the administration was fundamentally correct in its most controversial judgments, he has become "genuinely convinced otherwise."

The universal criticism of McClellan, both from Republicans who are still drinking the kool-aid and Democrats is why is McClellan speaking out now. That doesn't worry me. At least he's doing it. Colin Powell, Bush's Secretary of State, has hinted at similar concerns, but he has let his surrogates do the talking. I think it takes particular courage for someone like McClellan, who still professes to like Bush as a person and who has deep roots in the Texas Republican Party, to speak out at any time. I wish he would have seen the light and come clean earlier, but that would not have stopped the Bush White House. When McClellan resigned, we got a new liar in chief, Tony Snow, even more glib than McClellan.

Elections count. Want more of the same? Then vote McCain.

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