Well, new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten prevented me from writing a post that I had been planning at least since November. It shows that instead of waiting until I feel I can say what I want to say as well as I imagine saying it that I might do well to turn the idea into a post when it first crosses my mind. But, then, I want to make my posts thoughtful essays — and that often takes more time than most posts.
Just before bed, in praising the president for tapping fellow Cincinnati native Rob Portman as Director of Office of Management and Budget, I suggested that the president also “needs to do what the first (and greatest) Republican president did after Antietam — Fire McClellan.” Well, it looks like that plan was already in the works. I woke this morning to learn that he had done just that. “White House press secretary Scott McClellan announced his resignation.”
It couldn’t come a moment too soon — and at least six months too late. With an aggressive, antagonistic media, the president was not well served by a press secretary who, to borrow William Kristol’s expression, seemed to be in a perpetual “defensive crouch.” As Deroy Murdock put it “White House Press Secretary Scott McMilquetoast . . . exudes timidity. His briefings instill neither confidence nor inspiration.”
The White House press operation has done a terrible job of responding to disingenuous reporting. It seems as if the president, quite unlike his media savvy predecessor, thought it was merely the job of the press office to dispense information (as it once had been and perhaps should be in an ideal world where the media’s agenda in reporting the facts rather than giving its spin) and let the conservative pundits and blogs set the record straight. It’s been amusing to read all the false charges the MSM and others on the Left have leveled against the president. It’s been depressing to watch the Administration fail to rebut the better part of them.
The president needs a press secretary who exudes confidence, not timidity, and who is ever eager to promote the good news — especially about the robust economy and the signs of progress (despite occasional and significant setbacks) in Iraq. That Josh Bolten saw fit to replace Scott McClellan in his first days on the job suggests he is well aware of what ails this White House. With Rob Portman coming back to the White House and Scott McClellan on his way out, it seems that the president is moving to correct his mistakes of the last few months and has taken a step in the right direction. His naysayers notwithstanding, perhaps this president, stubborn though he may be, does learn from those mistakes.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: Just saw that Tammy has similar thoughts on McClellan: “Nice enough guy, but he always seemed to me to be in the defensive, regardless of what was happening. I never got the impression, frankly, that he was in charge of the press room.” Now that I’ve whet your appetite, read the whole thing.