Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nothing New

He's got the wherewithal to scribble* a book-length manuscript. Who knew?

GETTING AHEAD. It's the job of the media, left and right, to pound this McClellan item for days. But it's not a story, just a postscript. We already said everything that needs to be said long ago. Before the administration belatedly fired this incompetent sack of shit, we wrote:

[November 2005] George W. Bush doesn't like to fire people. It's his greatest weakness. If he wants to prevail in his most important policies, however, it's time he overcame that weakness... [T]he first three heads that must fall: Dan Bartlett, Strategic Communications Planning; Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary; and Nicolle Devenish, White House Communications Director.

These people assumed their current posts in the wake of the President's highly successful campaign for reelection. Since then, they have presided over one public relations debacle after another -- the needless Schiavo brouhaha, the incompetently presented Social Security reform initiative, the appalling failure to take credit for successes in Iraq or to counter the MSM's "Vietnam quagmire" fantasy, the Cindy Sheehan farce, the self-destructive Miers nomination, the Valerie Plame fiction, the cone of silence enforced while the Democrats screamed and shouted their "Bush lied" lie into every network microphone for months, and the feeble counterattack that led to the ridiculous playacting of John Murtha.

By any possible standard of competence in communications, these people are miserably and irredeemably inept. If they were merely obedient soldiers executing the instructions of the big boss, they should have resigned en masse long ere this in protest at being deprived of the opportunity to exercise their good judgment. If they actually concocted the communication plans that responded to the crises listed above, as seems more likely in the court of the Great Delegator, they should be drummed out of the profession -- hollow square, buttons ripped off, swords broken -- the works.

The one thing I can't understand is why more Republicans haven't demanded exactly this step. It may be difficult to see into the workings of Bartlett's and Devenish's jobs, but we see McClellan every day. The picture shown here is typical -- hands up in surrender. He is continually at a loss, defensive, borderline oafish, argumentative when he should be cool, placating when he should be predatory. His performance alone is enough to indict his communication superiors. He's minor league and even his surname is unpleasantly evocative of the blowhard general who was always piling up more resources for a battle he could never bring himself to fight. Get rid of him. NOW.

We also said everything worth saying about insider books:

[April 2007] There has been a constant stream of subversive, self-aggrandizing books by those whose whole power to serve the U.S. government resided in their capacity to listen and speak honestly to the President, whose confidence in their input rested largely on the knowledge that candid conversations about matters of state would not be spilled into the public trough.

Thanks to the likes of George Tenet, Colin Powell, David Frum, Richard Clarke, and God only knows how many other narcissistic crybabies, it will never again be possible for a president of the United States to converse with advisers without contemplating the self-serving books they will write, and publish, while he (or she) is still in office.

Sorry. I can't forget what everyone else -- and I do mean everyone -- has forgotten. The United States of America is the most powerful and benevolent nation the world has ever seen. The decisions that have to be made on behalf of our own ctizens and the world are frequently difficult, complex, morally contradictory, and nearly impossible to make. The leadership of no other nation in history has ever voluntarily confronted the murderous intentions of its rivals without permitting itself the option of annihilating them by any means possible. Thus, the much pilloried Bush adminsitration has continuously faced a situation without precedent in human history -- fanatical, mortal enemies bent on the destruction of the nation they serve, enemies who could be reduced to ash in approximately 60 minutes without significant risk of retaliation, but who will not be exterminated because we choose not to do so for moral reasons.

The question that must be asked is why this heroic moral choice should lead to the end of the most basic principles of loyalty, honor, and integrity by those who have been so privileged as to participate in the experiment.

The answer is apocalyptic. Such lofty expressions of merciful intent lead inevitably to the lowest, most venal reactions by those who detect the weakness inherent in mercy. They know they can get away with personal treachery to further their own interests.

George W. Bush's real weakness is that he is not Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, Saddam, Castro, or Pol Pot. That he is far more like Portia than Caesar is a promise of doom. In the days of Octavian, Powell, Tenet, Clarke, and Frum would never have lived to write their whining memoirs about their superiority to those from whom they took their orders. And the citizens of the Republic would have been safer abroad as a result. But there will be no American Augustus to lay the groundwork for a second American Century. There will be, however, (count on it) an American Cleopatra, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero, and an inevitable sacking of the capital of the world.

Rejoice, all you nihilists. Your fondest, deepest wish, the slashing of your self-hating throats by oppressed barabarians, is one step closer than it was yesterday. Happy?

That about does it. Nothing to add.

*What he did it with. It'll probably sell for thousands on eBay.
Unless it's subpoenaed by the Pelosi/Reid Congress first.

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