Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush’s McClellan . . .

. . . as a dog who once barked and now bites. The New York Times reports on a memoir by the former press secretary for the Bush Administration entitled "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception," which comes out next Tuesday. The theme is self-deception, and you can guess who feels bad about it, now. Not a pretty picture for all involved.

Discussions - 10 Comments

The first article I read on this had a paragraph that prattled on about how McClellan still likes and supports the president. Can you imagine how awful this might be if he didn't like and support Bush? That poor man is simply afflicted with friends. It could be a new proverbial wish, "May you never have friends like George W. Bush had."

Carol Strayhorn, the 'one tough grandma', should be enough to help explain the reason for McClellan's two year old expose. (Note, they both seemed to have left major politics in the same year, 2006)

Hold it Kate. It was George Walker Bush that surrounded himself with men like Card, with men like McClellan. He chose them. Nobody forced such men upon him. He just didn't end up with them willy-nilly. They were a result of previous personnel decisions. He chose to avoid men like Giuliani, Gingrich and Bill Bennett, instead preferring the company of squishes such as McClellan and Andy Card.

Of ALL THE CONSERVATIVE talent throughout the fruited plain to pick from, to staff his administration with, ------------------- take a look at the people he actually selected. EVERYTHING that occurred thereafter was almost predestined by those disastrous personnel decisions. Just about every single major pick of Bush's proved to be a disaster, including Colin Powell and Condi Rice. Paul O'Neill. As soon as Paul O'Neill opened his mouth, and that wormy, nasal voice came forth, every sane man knew that he didn't possess the voice, nor the face, to be the visage of the robust American economy. But not the Bush administration. Compare Paul O'Neill to Robert Rubin. How can we not cringe by that comparison. He could have picked Steve Forbes, he could have tapped Lawrence Kudlow or Arthur Laffer. He could have selected Walter Williams. But instead that picked men like Lindsay, O'Neill, John Snow.

Such disastrous picks cast a verdict upon George W. Bush. And the verdict is unfavourable. We can't avoid that conclusion. And it's errant and misplaced charity to continue to defend this administration.

Bush allowed Karen Hughes to edit and to redraft the energy proposals in the first term. THAT SINGLE decision, I could easily argue, was perhaps was the most momentous of his Presidency. Because his failure to push through a REAL ENERGY agenda has resulted in a hamstrung war effort, and now a 2d term where energy costs, and what's worse, injurious energy policy, is now throwing America into an inflationary spiral.

LBJ's administration came in with the type of economic drive that GW did, and surpluses too. But LBJ ended his term in fiscal overstretch and with inflationary forces active. Bush followed the trajectory of the LBJ administration, it's eerie.

Dan, I can't argue your point, but will quibble. Could Bush get those really good guys for his administration? I really don't know. By the second term I would think GWB would have had an especially hard time getting good people.

Why did he pick some of those people you mention? I remember some came from Texas, and personal loyalty is supposed to be a virtue. It is a shame the president has been badly served, but I don't think it a matter of charity to defend the administration. GWB means, equates to, conservative politics to much of the electorate. Prudence dictates support. If we can't say anything nice, maybe not saying anything at all would be wise, and kind.

GWB has an affinity for mediocrities. McClellan is a good example. The problem with picking people on the basis of personal comfort is that they are less likely to be excellent in their chosen line of work, and less likely to be dedicated to the cause. (GWB is not a cause.) Excellence tends to come with difficulty in other areas, but those who have it rarely defect in the way that the pathetic Mr. McClellan has. Mediocrity is blown about by personal factors, bouts of shallow conscience, and the liberal zeitgeist. That is undoubtedly what has happened to McClellan. Interestingly, this clown's father, Barr McClellan, is or was a conspiracy theorist. Surely no accident?

Didn't George Washington "pick" the, now, infamous Benedict Arnold?


I think there's a fabulous silver lining in this dark cloud swirling above the White House these days. I'm very pleased to see the festering wounds opened again, via the likes of this guy McClellan. Perhaps some common sense can finally prevail as the lies and distortions of the "Bush haters" are exposed for what they really are.

At least I hope so.

Kate, the President always could get "good people," that was never the problem. What was the problem was that Bush and his allies were looking in the wrong places, and going over the same old faces from yesteryear. For them it was the same old, same old.

In the Reagan years, personnel changed, but the policy altered very little. The reason was that there was a real theme and vision that descended from the top. Most importantly, there was a real man in command. There's no theme or vision in the Bush White House. Hasn't been for years. Even the Bush doctrine has found its greatest enemy in the person of the President himself, George W. Bush. Amidst such ideological incoherence, it's not unexpected that creatures like McClellan find a place, and make headway.

Look over at Nicholas Burns at State. How was it that such a man landed such an incredibly important position in ostensibly a Republican administration? And it's difficult to overestimate the sway that Burns has held.

George W. Bush's White House got away from him, like students in the class of some overly permissive teacher, BECAUSE HE ALLOWED IT to unfold that way.

It's as David Frum said, Bush tried to implement a policy the establishment disagreed with, VEHEMENTLY disagreed with, using that very same establishment as the tool of implementation. And it was just never going to happen. The establishment were determined to ruin his policy from the get go, and in retrospect, that single fact looms ever clearer. Bremer had clear instructions, and a clear chain of command over him, which within weeks of taking over in Baghdad he had already shredded. Only a fool would have made so dramatic a policy shift without a concurrent purge of the federal government, especially State, CIA and the Pentagon.

Such a purge would have demonstrated seriousness, and caused his policy and his voice to find greater resonance at home and abroad. But when Bush knew, or should have known what was happening within his own executive branch, but failed to take decisive action against it, to ruthlessly suppress it, ------------ he weakened his position at home and abroad.

Americans often overlook how closely foreign powers observe the ebb and flow of the political scene in Washington.

Mr. Lamb: Benedict Arnold ultimately betrayed the revolution, but he was not a mediocrity. He was the Continental Army's greatest hero until he defected to the British.

I doubt very much that General Washington would have employed an 18th century equivalent of Scott McClellan as anything more than a latrine-digger.

The political consequences of a purge would have been pretty ugly. Yet what we have is pretty ugly, too. Condi Rice says they were clear about ideology, about Iraq, anyway.

So I went looking for what you said David Frum said, to see the context, and found this instead:

Side by side with the Kessler piece, it is very worth reading Stephen Hayes' excellent article in the Weekly Standard about the rise and ascendancy of Condoleezza Rice within the administration.

It depicts a woman without firm ideas of her own, riven by her own personal insecurities, who has won amazing power inside the administration by her superior ability to manage the president emotionally. Uncertain herself, Rice is subject to manipulation by more determined and more knowledgeable subordinates - Hill, for example - who have used her to maneuver the president into abandoning his most eloquently stated foreign policy commitments. It's sad reading on a weekend when we remember America's fallen soldiers, including those who made their sacrifices trusting that the president and his advisers were guided by strong principles and clear vision.

So, never mind.

Of course the establishment would have howled had Bush conducted a purge. But they howl anytime a real Conservative is so much as nominated to anything. Recall their howling over Bork, and how they responded to the nomination of Bolton. And as bad as that was, we had our own, such as Senator Voinovich, {sp?} weeping, actually weeping about the prospect of a man like Bolton going to that insane asylum up there in NYC.

We simply have to take as a given the howling and the ferocious reaction of the establishment, the media, the Left. And the GOP has to stop capitulating; they're frightened of the howling, they're frightened of the editorials, the coverage, so they preemptively capitulate. That has to come to a screeching halt. Men, real men, not the uncertain Rockefeller type, have to stand up on parade and be accounted for.

So long as Republicans and Conservatives care overmuch how the establishment responds, they'll never advance a worthwhile agenda.

The establishment is AGAINST a Conservative agenda. And they'll never be reconciled to one. That being the case, they're going to have to be taken on, ----------------------- and they're going to have to be defeated.

It's that simple. Or as Reagan would say: "We win, they lose." Or rather, AMERICA wins, they lose.

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