Uh oh... McClellan is really spilling the beans.
In a shocking turnabout, the press secretary most known for defending President Bush on Iraq, Katrina and a host of other controversial issues produced a memoir damning of his old boss on nearly every level _ from too much secrecy to a less-than-honest selling of the war to a lack of personal candor and an unwillingness to admit mistakes.
In the first major insider account of the Bush White House, one-time spokesman Scott McClellan calls the operation "insular, secretive and combative" and says it veered irretrievably off course as a result.[...]
McClellan says Bush's main reason for war always was "an ambitious and idealistic post-9/11 vision of transforming the Middle East through the spread of freedom." But Bush and his advisers made "a marketing choice" to downplay this rationale in favor of one focused on increasingly trumped-up portrayals of the threat posed by the weapons of mass destruction.
During the "political propaganda campaign to sell the war to the American people," Bush and his team tried to make the "WMD threat and the Iraqi connection to terrorism appear just a little more certain, a little less questionable than they were." Something else was downplayed as well, McClellan says: any discussion of "the possible unpleasant consequences of war _ casualties, economic effects, geopolitical risks, diplomatic repercussions."
In Bush's second term, as news from Iraq grew worse, McClellan says the president was "insulated from the reality of events on the ground and consequently began falling into the trap of believing his own spin."
All of this was a "serious strategic blunder" that sent Bush's presidency "terribly off course."
"The Iraq war was not necessary," McClellan concludes.
Looks like during his second administration Bush himself was lied to and misled about the progress in Iraq, and he swallowed the lies because they fit into his agenda. Conservatives seem to consistently have a difficult time coming to grip with a reality that runs counter to their ideological goals.
McClellan told NBC's "Today" show on Thursday that although he had worried about the rush to war, he felt affection for President Bush and trusted his foreign policy advisers.
McClellan says in his new memoir that he came to realize that the war was sold with propaganda that inflated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. He says administration officials didn't deliberately lie _ but they became wrapped up in trying to shape the story to their advantage, and ignored intelligence that didn't fit the picture.
Conservatives in our comment threads seem to believe the Bush White House wasn't required to be honest with the American people, and seem to support the notion that not telling the whole truth in regards to the threats posed by Saddam Hussein and his non-existent WMDs is an honest approach to government.
What a crock. For years now we've had the Republicans in this country defending their political party's lies, and even now that they lies are exposed they show no remorse.
It's time to run the Republicans out of Washington on a rail.
Update: At least one Republican consultant thinks voters won't really care that President Bush lied to the America people.
"There are very few people who are undecided about the President today," said Republican consultant Dan Hazelwood. "The McClellan stories will merely serve to crystallize and solidify people's existing perceptions."
Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster, echoed that sentiment. "None of this is breaking new ground," he said. "Voter attitudes regarding the president are pretty well set, and while this will make waves inside the Beltway, it will hardly cause a ripple with voters on the national level," said Newhouse.
As evidence, Newhouse cited a focus group he and Alex Bellone -- both of Public Opinion Strategies -- conducted on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. At the last minute, the duo decided to ask the group, a mixture of Democrats and Republicans, about McClellan.
Two strains of thought predominated, Newhouse said.
The first was "initial anger at McClellan for writing a tell-all book...he's the President's confidant - you just don't do that to people," said Newhouse.
The second was that there was little impact of the President or his administration as a result of the McClellan book. "No one seemed surprised at the revelations," according to Newhouse.
No one is surprised that Bush lied. This speaks volumes....
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