Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life In A Bubble, Scott McClelland

I'll be damned, I'm going to do exactly what I said I wouldn't do - say something about Scott McClelland. People have been flooding into this site, sort of, onto an article from 11/07 about the pre-release of McClelland's book. An odd confluence of title, opening words and Google search protocols puts that article #1 in as search result and everybody is interested again, driving site numbers by a factor of 10. One incoming took the time to comment, on a six month old post - I get email notification - so I emailed him and we had a discussion ending with me saying I wouldn't slam or praise Scott McClelland. Some other things have intervened and changed my mind.

I've watched McClelland get slammed for being turncoat traitor to being a profiteering cowardly rat. How could he know this stuff and not say anything OR how could he not know this stuff?

First off, BushCo has turned the Press Secretary job description into information suppression. You have to get that part first. Now of the BushCo dissemblers I liked Scott best, he actually seemed uncomfortable, the rest when pushed:

Ari - pissed off tough guy with spit to back it up - loathed this guy, a good slapping would help

Tony - jokey dismissive we're all pals shut up - oh puke, HS pretty boy jock get away with any stupidity on popularity - laugh hysterically at your hired gun empty suit till you wilt

Dana - blond DUH - take her out, buy her some nice clothes, put her someplace decorative, stuff sock in mouth.

Sure, these are snarky thumbnails but these people aren't to be taken seriously. Come on, these are hired parrots paid to be intellectually inactive and incurious. They do need pretty good memories to keep up with the positions and to be intellectually shallow enough to believe the stuff.

If you're thinking I'm going to set McClelland apart on those grounds, I'm not. He believed for a long time, until his face was pushed in it. So we're going to start out acknowledging a lazy mind. But now I'm going to do something that surprises me, I'm going to defend him, somewhat.

The proposition that the bubble doesn't exist and how could you not know and not speak up misses something important. Very few of us work in a very high stress environment that involves very important issues and very determined opponents. Further, few of us work in such a closed environment composed of not hired guns but believers. This environment is so stressed and so closed that family and social life disappears and the "cult" becomes your family and society. This is true in any Administration and I propose that it is especially true in BushCo. Add into all this the fact of being with the organization from its start and growing with it, growing with an organization that prizes loyalty above all and promotes from within to the very pinnacle of power in the US and you've got something potent.

People are molded by their associations, Alcoholics Anonymous does this, it can be slow or quick and it can be shallow or deep; but the molding occurs. Scott McClelland started out with a small time clique and moved to the eyes of the nation, the mouthpiece of the most powerful man in the world, there might have been some effect. It is easy in our varied life of different exposures to information and personalities and variable loyalties to look at McClelland and not understand. I have functioned inside such a unit and we were relentless - hotshot firefighters. We believed, oh boy did we, because what we did was not reasonable. My life now is completely different and I couldn't understand a bubble from the outside, using today.

Scott McClelland lived and breathed BushCo, seeing it for what it was and is would be difficult, the critics, the unbelievers were all outsiders, the opposition. The opposition had agendas, the opposition were liars and hypocrites. You see and you deny it, you have to, you would be questioning your family and your life. You are satisfied with rationalizations that to an outsider are silly, because you build a structure for them. It is foundated on the personality, George II, and the walls are all your fellows keeping out the raving mobs and the roof you build together out of rationalizations, justifications, and reality to keep out the rain of criticism - you are talking about wrecking your house where you all live if you question.

If you get smacked in the face with the reality that things are not as they seem in one particular instance and your family turns against you leaving becomes real. But it is only leaving and only a single instance and it will take quite awhile for the forced questioning to broaden out into the whole of your life. Questions with answers and outside input generate more questions and more answers and the thing can become an avalanche. It does sound as though Scott has tried to salvage one piece of it all, the foundation, George. Standing in the midst of wreckage something must stand for something. So you get an idea that George had the seeds of greatness before it fell apart.

I expect that if Scott McClelland is honestly trying to make up for his years in BushCo he sees himself as having participated in a pretty sad endeavor and he is a man disappointed in the track his life took. He surely is still trying to have something good left and some excuse. He may well lose those, also. You must figure he's done for in politics and that he doesn't have many Republican friends. The opposition doesn't see him kindly - hell, I don't - and it is an open question how much economic good the book will do him once the initial steam wears off. His reputation is beat up enough that journalism probably isn't too viable, Tony Snow is an aberration. He's not a real smart witty guy who had lots of power, he's a regular guy, nice guy who got to be a mouthpiece, so being a pundit or analyst isn't happening. It's probably a pretty grim looking prospect for him over the long haul. He could have stayed quiet and loyal and gotten table scraps - he didn't.

I don't know if I feel sorry for him, that'd be a bit much. Does he deserve to be slapped around, I don't know, a lot of bad things have happened that he was a part of, but he's also just slapped himself around pretty good. What I do know is that he doesn't deserve to be treated like a piece of human excrement by his former opposition. He didn't make the policies, he wasn't going to change them - just get fired, and chances are real good that his professed ignorance wasn't deliberate. It was a product of a culture he wasn't smart enough to stay out of.

(this site's hits on Tue. was 2x all after 5PM, Wed 10x,Thur @12PM on track for 10x)


KISS said...

Scott McClelland, another "Get along,Go along Guy". He is to be pitied no more than the incompetent news reporters playing the president's game. With questions, known and approved in advance, this gamemanship was just part of W's cover-up and fraudulent use of the media. Yup, poor ol' Scott, no longer the hired hand, is remorseful and might I add resentful? Another " maybe I can make a buck, or how we can eat our young for profit" and respectability. I'm sure good ol' Scott has enough political talk programs to earn a nice wind-fall.
Some us were not duped than or now. We can see bogus confessions and are not swayed by all the gnashing of teeth and crying over the spilt milk, he knew exactly what he was doing. No pity from this writer.

Chuck Butcher said...

I'm not sure I agree about the "knew exactly what he was doing" which is the point of the article. As for pity, nope.

Oregonian37 said...

I kind of picture living in that bubble as being a bit similar to being in solitary confinement, only not alone. If you have no one on the outside giving you perspective, then you are going to lose yours. It's a basic tenet of human psychology. Combine that with a desire to believe, and yes, people really can get that lost and be that unaware.
As for sympathy and understanding, I'd be more inclined if his confessional wasn't designed to bring him profit.

KISS said...

aaah Chuck, such a naive believer. He didn't believe..He knew exactly than and now..I wonder if you are selling Beach Front property in Baker City?

Chuck Butcher said...

He had access to a lot of people with a lot of answers, would they gratuitously hand them to a press flack? Would he ask those questions? He believed in and trusted Bush. There are a lot of people like that, do I admire them? No. Do I like that they exist? No. Is it important that somebody from inside is saying what some of us have said from the beginning from the outside?

Even if all the ice in the world melts I'm afraid we won't have a beach in Baker City.

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