Saturday, May 31, 2008

Deja Vu-doo

Everybody's putting in their two cents about former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new memoir, and what he has to say about the president who has become the country's favorite voodoo doll, George W. Bush.

McClellan's argument that, while the Bush administration lacked the necessary coordination to prevent 9/11, ironically enough, their greatest legacy will be just how well they micromanaged the mainstream media in the lead-up to the war in Iraq is implausible. Is it fair to say now that Scott McClellan is spinning about spinning, and what's behind it?

How it is that, even in the midst of the most unthinkable turmoil, the American press manages to stay in hindsight mode, and allow the wool to be pulled over our eyes, once again, in the lead-up to military aggression against Iran, defies credulity. Yes, the media is complicit in this campaign of hindsight.

The now "retired" White House press secretary's revelations have a deja vu quality, his not being the first accusations of this nature leveled against the current commander-in-chief, and this not being the first time these allegations have been heard from him. After all, six months ago, his publisher leaked an excerpt of the book.

The obvious question is-- why this hyperfocus by the mainstream media? What does McClellan's memoir reveal and, more importantly, what does it conceal? Why his sudden urge to come clean? Whose pawn was he, and who is the pawn now?

Can the timing of the book's release have something to do with the fact that his good friend, colleague, fellow "resignee," former Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, was subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee to testify, under oath, about his involvement in the outing of covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame, as well as in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, most of whom refused to play ball on voter fraud cases. Is all the media hooplah a way to deflect attention from the dangerous liaisons that are politics as usual in Washington currently by focusing on the dangerous liaisions that happened on McClellan's watch?

Apart from the obvious, their proximity to members of the Executive Branch, Rove and McClellan 's departure from the White House is only separated by one year. McClellan resigned in 2006, and Rove in 2007. Rove, as you recall, left with a cloud over his head, and questions as to whether he perjured himself, and/or obstructed justice in Plame-gate.

Notably, the House Judiciary Committee, and Congressman Robert Wexler, are working overtime to ensure that one-time Republican "political analyst," Karl Rove, who now writes for Fox News, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, won't get away with defying subpoenas, and gravity, and may yet get to face the Committee to talk about not only his role, as well as that of Vice President Dick Cheney, but, yes, that of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Wexler even brings up the possibility of an Inherent Contempt of Congress charge for Rove, and any other administration official who is arrogant enough to think they can defy a House subpoena.

While all eyes have been focused on the media-storm that is Scott McClellan's confessional, as the New York Times reports, the chief judge in the Guantanamo Bay military trial of a 26 year old Australian detainee, Ahmer Khadr, has been "retired," on Thursday, by mutual agreement of the court and the Army, for a ruling against military prosecutors who refuse to hand over records to Khadr's defense team. My, what a penchant we have for "retiring" folks, in this country, with nobody asking why.

So it is then that while the "sexiest" part of his memoir has to do with President Bush, and the concerted effort to tweak the reasons for going to war, to propagandize, the real story is McClellan's insistence that he was duped, or misled, and lied to, by his good friend Karl Rove, among others, and had no idea about the efforts underway to obstruct justice in Plame-gate. But, apart from who would believe that, why should this matter now? Maybe because McClellan is poised to face the same cross-examination that Rove will get if he is coerced, by law, to comply with a House subpoena.

Aside from the obvious book sale incentive and the speaking tours, McClellan must be thinking about what he's going to say when brought before the House, and/or a federal court, as well as possible indictment on accessory to perjury and obstruction of justice charges. To put it bluntly, Scott McClellan is building an alibis.

That publication of his memoir just happens to coincide with congressional efforts to demand testimony from his colleague, and close friend, Karl Rove, is not coincidental, but the underlying question the author seems to be asking is -- can it be a lie if it appears in print? One has only to look at the "weapons of mass destruction" stories that appeared on the front page of all the major newspapers to answer that one. Nice try, but even memoirs lie.

No one would question McClellan's epiphany, and conversion, from conservative pitcher to what his good friend, Karl Rove, calls a "left wing blogger" is authentic, only if the former White House press secretary is the only pawn in what he calls the "Washington game."

What an amazing job the press, and broadcast media, are doing playing ball with administration insiders, and feeding us only the news that sells the most Viagra. Just think, for a moment, about how many Americans know what Valerie Plame-Wilson looks like. But, how many can name even one U.S. attorney who was fired by this president, or tell why? How many nightly viewers of CNN and Fox, in a multiple choice test, could identify the meaning of "contempt of Congress."

President Bush said he will "work hard" to forgive his former press secretary whose crime it was to tell the truth, for whatever motives, in a world in which perjury has become a way of life, but who will pardon the press, in America, that has worked in collusion, for nearly a decade, to bring this nightmare to a theatre near you.

By its obstinate habit of avoiding important news, like the Judiciary Committee's subpoena of Karl Rove, and the former White House chief of staff's refusal to acknowledge that subpoena, as well as the possible legal ramifications this portends for McClellan, the mainstream media has become a pawn yet again, too.