Sunday, August 24, 2008

Books You Should Be Reading Number 47 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

What Happened by Scott McClellan

So I don’t agree with those who excoriate the “liberal media.” As long as they do their jobs professionally, I have no problem with liberal reporters, and I certainly dealt with them happily enough as press secretary. The real problem with the national media is the overemphasis on controversy, the excessive focus on who is winning and who is losing in Washington, and the constant search for something or someone to pick on and attack. These bad habits too often cause the larger truths that matter most to get lost in the mix.


On the various leftist sites I frequent, this book was held up as a damning piece of evidence that the Bush administration was just as corrupt as we all knew it was.

It’s nothing so dramatic.

I didn’t learn anything in this book that I didn’t already know (gasp – the evidence for going into Iraq wasn’t so good!!!two!!!) but is still worth a read for two main reasons:

Firstly, it is a nice inside look at the processes of the White House. Many in the Bush administration have been justifiably - but not helpfully - turned into cartoon super villains by, well, The Daily Show, the Left Wing in general, and, well, their own decisions and lives to this point. McClellan’s book humanises them, and gives an insight into what was going through the minds of members of the administrations during such tragicomicedal clusterfucks as Hurricane Katrina.

Secondly, it’s a truly fascinating portrait of a true idealist who genuinely believed that George Bush would make America and the world a better place, and who, over the course of years realises that he is very wrong. McClellan is still a Republican, still thinks highly of George Bush as a person, and is fast to point out that the situations many in the administration found themselves in were not as black and white as they later appeared to the pubic. So this isn’t a rabid attack from the left, it’s a faintly shocked sounding admission that maybe idealism didn’t win the day, written by a man whose reaction to the last seven years is a mixture of sadness and genuine surprise.

Now I just need to get my copy of Fair Game back off the student I lent it to, and I can read an angry political memoir...


Anonymous said...

Interesting - yet I think it shows 2 other things:
1) How thunderingly incompetent most politicians and their political appointees truly are, whether left- or right-wing. Hurricane Katrina has tiny local reflections whenever some minor glitch in Auckland's public transport sees multi-hour delays.

2) The right-wing have become adept at presenting themselves as 'nice guys who genuinely think their ideas will help society', and who look shocked and dismayed when their liberal capitalism screws the peasants... I recall being disgusted at how McClellan used to screen journos questions and evade honest answers. For him to now be 'sad & surprised' is a touch disengenous, methinks!

Nice review though!

Now, was that last comment an attempt to portray myself as more human and compassionate than my acidic earlier comments, or a genuine reflection of my charitable side? Short of asking Scott McC, only history will judge - if it can be bothered.

Anonymous said...

I never thought the Bush Administration wasn't human. The problem comes when mere mortals think that their cause is somehow supported by God. True evil comes in a human form with human emotions, the best intentions, and human failings, that's what people need to learn.

Apathy Jack said...

Anonymous the first: That's a valid criticism - more than once while reading, the thought crossed my mind that for someone to be quite so blind to the fact that Bush was incompetent and that the administration were doing, well, all they did, stretched credulity at times. However, I've watched a bunch of interviews with McClellan, and read the opinions of a bunch of press types who worked with him, and he doesn't seem to have been putting on the bumbling optimist act, so I believe it.