Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Country Full Of Scott McClellans

Just a couple of additional points about Scott McClellan and his book What Happened. (The picture shows me and Scott with Jon Stewart after the taping of last night's Daily Show.)

1. Isn't it funny how the Bush administration's response to the book has proven one of Scott's main points? Scott criticizes the Bushes for responding to any challenge or criticism not with a reasoned, honest, fair consideration of the arguments raised but rather with an orchestrated barrage of pre-arranged talking points designed to destroy the critic's credibility and batter him or her into silence. And no sooner does Scott publish his book making this point than the administration responds with an orchestrated barrage of pre-arranged talking points designed to destroy Scott's credibility and batter him into silence.

2. There's been a fair amount of vitriol directed at Scott from the left, excoriating him for raising his criticisms "too late," for being a gullible fool for swallowing the administration's lines for so long, for willingly supporting and abetting the administration's agenda during the crucial months of the run-up to war, etc. These criticisms are easy to make, and some of the motivations behind them are understandable. In particular, it's really galling for those of us who were "right" about Bush and the war to still be treated with condescension and scorn by those who were so disastrously wrong. It's tempting to vent some of that frustration on a target like Scott.

But Scott is not alone. Scott is part of that vast group of people who make up the fifty percent drop in Bush's approval rating between October 2001 and today. He represents tens of millions of Americans who, like him, were inclined to give the president and his advisors "the benefit of the doubt" in the wake of 9/11 but who now realize they didn't deserve it. Many of those people have become seriously disillusioned with the Republican Party and are openly shopping for a new person and party to transfer their allegiance to. Obama has a real chance of winning support from many of them (including Scott).

Verbally abusing people like these doesn't help our cause. If you are so angry at Scott himself that you don't even want his vote in November, fine--but let's not go out of our way to alienate the many other well-intentioned people who have made the same journey as Scott and who are now wondering whether they can ever feel at home in the Democratic party.

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