Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Scott McClellan's Sheltered Life

His belated discovery that the Bush Administration was a "permanent campaign" reflects the naiveté of a young man who started out managing his mother's campaign for Texas Comptroller and spent the rest of his working life inside the Bush bubble.

"A president-elect," Scott McClellan writes in his book, "should insist that those overseeing his transition into office learn about the permanent campaign--what it is, how it works, and the consequences of embracing it. A president-elect should also insist that his senior staff heed the same lessons.

"This could enable new administrations to avoid some of the pitfalls the Bush administration fell into, such as taking a massive campaign apparatus into the governing structure of the White House--a particularly dangerous mistake when there is no strong, counterbalancing force in place."

Say what? Some of us have been pointing out for years that Bush was the first American president who had no interest in running the country, just running for office.

Stooping to self-quotation, here is my post of November 4, 2006 headed "RIP: President Pitchman":

"The joy will go out of George W. Bush’s life on November 8, 2006. Whether or not Republicans hold on to Congress, Bush’s loss will be irreparable. He will no longer have what gives his existence meaning.

"Before Monicagate, Maureen Dowd nailed Bill Clinton as 'the only President who is still social-climbing,' a capsule for his combination of ambition, neediness and guile.

"Bush is the only President who never stopped campaigning and started governing.

"After November 7th, he will lose that. Karl Rove & Company may still provide reruns of his favorite milieu: hand-picked cheering crowds and brainless banners, catch phrases to demonize Democrats, self-satisfied smiles belaboring the obvious (9/11 changed the world) and twisting it to his needs (tear up the Constitution to get the terrorists).

"But the real thrill will be gone--persuading voters to part with their rights as easily as carnival barkers sold elixirs to clueless rubes. Bush will be left only with press conferences to smirk uncomfortably at reporters asking about real issues. As always, he will have no answers, only nostrums.

"R.I.P, President Pitchman."

Scott McClellan really should have gotten out of the White House more.

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