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Post Mortem on Scott McClellan (Part 1)

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Message Bill Burkett
Over the past 24 hours, I’ve read a major portion of Scott McClellan’s book, “What Happened” and listened to numerous interviews from the very people who would abuse the message so much:  those from the belly of the beast itself – the Bush White House, and those that failed so miserably – the media. 

And while Chris Mathews probably did the best interviews and the most probing questions, even there, I am not shocked but struck with how much effort goes into the denial of any degree of responsibility for “What Happened”. 

As always seems the case by those that deny culpability, the first effort is to try to guess the motivation.  I guess this is the journalistic attempt to develop a first reason to gut what is said – or support it while vaulting oneself to some imaginary artificial loft or point of vision.  They call it punditry.  I call it stirring up the sharks without getting into the water and suffering risk oneself. 

I’m no fan of the media and specifically this generation of the same names that caused a false lead up to war, a faltered economy controlled by corporate greed, declining standards of living for working people in America, poorer and poorer educations, an international picture fraught with disdain and anger, and a national indebtedness that makes our leaders go hat in hand to visit our bankers China, India and Japan, who are also our primary competitors in the World marketplace. 

But let me start with a post mortem on Scott McClellan. 

The Autopsy on the Environment and the Lead Up to McClellan’s Exposure 

Scott McClellan is a young man who like all of us had been baptized in the world of competition, career progression with a heavy dose of the Biblical twist of the right and wrong as defined by dollars and cents.  Of course, when we raise our kids to compete, we equip them with sports metaphors, the rah-rah of sport Dom and a huge dose of social naiveté. 

Scott wanted to achieve. 

Achievement in American culture has grown in the last thirty years to be more of a case of who you know and blow than, work ethic.  There was always a heavy dose of that in American culture, but the focus and concentration has continued with every generation and the level of competition to increase markedly. 

We call it supply and demand and competition.  But what it amounts to is survival of the fittest. 

Scott McClellan entered Bush World in 1999.  I entered in 1995.  By the time Scott arrived, the inner team had been formed. 

There was Joe Allbaugh, the former Oklahoma State Senator and military man with a crew cut who had bilked a widow woman out of her estate and moved to Texas to join politics.  Jim Francis had interviewed Joe as a “fix it man” for the George W. Bush campaign on the direction of former Governor Bill Clements. 

There was Karen Hughes, the former Chairman of the Texas Republican Party who had a surgical tongue that was know to lash and remove heads or hearts as the need arose. 

Karl Rove was the tactician.  He had a reputation for being coy and “resourceful”, which meant he would come up with whatever dirty tricks were necessary to win. 

Francis hired a kid just out of no where, Dan Bartlett to carry Joe Allbaugh’s brief case.  Francis added a few other minor players to this bunch. 

Their mission was to carry on the Bill Clements revival of the Texas Republican Party; take over the elected courts of Texas; and provide a springboard for a young George W. Bush to be president. 

It started and was nurtured and fed in 1992 in a little known political hang out in North Dallas. 

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