Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has written a book and the level of vilification from the Bush White House, neo-cons and other ultra-right wing loyalists has been swift and deafening. The gist of all the criticism from the neo-fascist propaganda mill from Ari Fleischer to the noisemakers at Fox and other ultra-right wing media is, "How dare he!" The amazing thing to me is that the response has been so swift and so rancorous the McClellan must, at long last, be telling the truth.
The criticism I've heard most frequently goes something like if Scott thought that something was wrong, why didn't he step up and say something at the time?
That question is what's known as a "gimme". McClellan saw what happened to Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame when
In some sense the choice he made is a quintessentially Republican one. He chose to stay on because he, even today, excuses Dubya and because staying was in his self-interest. Self-interest ahead of nation, community and law is the ultimate Republican characteristic. Thus, asking why McClellan stayed is both foolish and self-evident. For hitman, Karl Rove, to pose that question is deliciously ironic and reveals two more essential characteristics of Dubya’s neo-fascist crew and Republicans in general: they know neither shame or irony.
One of the other questions frequently asked is, “Why now?” Why did McClellan put his account of Administration machinations and perfidy out now? That too is obvious. It’s an election year. This year his book is likely to sell better than in any other year. Again, self-interest trumps everything. Still, being a little less cynical, I think that Scott McClellan, like several former denizens of this Administration like Colin Powell and George Tenet before him, knows that this crew of war criminals and civil rights violators is going to be called to account as soon as they are out of the White House and regardless of the raft of pardons that Dubya, like Poppy before him, is going to issue on his way out the door. McClellan is jockeying for position. He’s a relatively little fish. If he suddenly develops or counterfeits a moral compass the coming storm is likely to break lightly on his head.
In 1980 Cyrus Vance who’d differed with Jimmy Carter over the disastrous Iranian hostage rescue mission allowed the mission to fail and then had the decency to resign once his reservations had proved all too prescient. But Vance was a Democrat a bit less steeped in total self-interest than Republicans. McClellan, like his Republican cronies, talks a good game when it comes to morality, personal responsibility and shared values but doesn’t stand up until it’s too late for the nation and profitable for himself.
To be a true Republican of this time it seems to me that one must have steeped one’s self in Ayn Rand’s pernicious screeds Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The wildly misnamed Objectivism contends that nothing matters but the individual and what that individual deigns to grant to others and society as a whole. Indeed life is characterized by the struggle of the individual against society. In truth it is extreme subjectivism and a close, even incestuous, cousin of fascism. Scott McClellan hasn’t had a change of heart; rather he’s decided that his bread is buttered on a different side. Still, that he’s being more truthful today than he was while he was one of Republican minions is to be celebrated but much in the way that one thanks a match seller for turning in an arsonist he before sets another fire. While we congratulate him for his current honesty we should remember that had he found a spine in 2004 we would have been spared some of the depredations of the last three and a half years of neo-fascist rule.