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More McClellan on Bush's Lies

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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Comments (10)

Eric Cartman:

Well I cannot say that it comes as a suprise that Jay Tea or any of the others are not commenting on the Scott McClellen book. I would ask Jay about this, but they no longer allow comments his side of the blog. I guess they couldn't take the heat.
So if a trusted member of the Bush inner circle came clean and said the reasons for the war were a farce, and it turned out that Saddam WAS in compliance with the UN resolutions, ....then where did the ANTHRAX come from?

Its also not lost on me that only Democratic officials and left wing media figures were targeted. I think thats odd.

Saddam was a lot of things, and none of them good, but most of all he was a survivor. Are we to believe that he would launch a letter campaign against the US and not target the administration. And do it at a time when the big US military gorilla was pissed off already and itching for a fight? The only thing the anthrax attacks accomplished was to get the whole country behind the president and support a war. For Saddam, it would have been the very worst strategy he could have used.
To keep your head stuck in the sand all these years, refusing to see the light of day is inexcusable. I too supported the invasions of both Afganistan and Iraq in the beggining. But over time I wound up with more questions than answers. So I changed my stance. To continue to support the Bush administration at this late stage of the game you have to be pretty stupid.
Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil.

eric Cartman:

Keep up the good work Lee.


If it was a problem 5 years ago, why is McClellan speaking out now? Simple - he got his book deal through. Just as others have done, and others will do.

Look at all the stuff Straddlin' Madeline Albright has put out about how she would do things. We saw how she'd do things, and that got us 9/11 and North Korea.

I love it.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

What difference does it make as to why McClellan chose to release this information now? It doesn't change the facts.


Right on Lee.
BPG, you just answered your own question. McClellon is speaking out about it now BECAUSE he got his book deal through.

Did you really expect a personal phone call?


"Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House," said current White House press secretary Dana Perino, a former deputy to McClellan. "We are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew."

Well in an environment of lies and deceit, did Dana Perino really expect to "know" McClellan?
Shocker of all shockers....


A personal phone call would have been nice, sure.

And why are the words coming from McClellan suddenly truthful now, when they were not before? Is he lying now or was he lying then?

The book deal does not exactly enhance his credibility here.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

It figures Republicans would attempt to discredit McClellan -- simply because he told the lies that were fed to him by the Republican adminstration, that makes him a liar?

No, it doesn't.

Bush told McClellan than he wasn't involved in the Plame coverup and McClellan repeated the lie, but that doesn't make McClellan a liar.

It makes the slimy Republican President of the United States a liar.

Peter F.:

What difference does it make as to why McClellan chose to release this information now? It doesn't change the facts.

You can't be serious. That may be the single most lame response yet.

It absolutely changes the "facts." Whatever those may be in McClellan's brain

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"It absolutely changes the "facts."

Vague innuendo not supported by facts , all in an attempt to propagandize...

How very "Republican" of you, Peter.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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