Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fans of Where's Waldo, try: Where's Scott McClellan

It looks like the back of peoples heads, but it sounds like Scott McClellan and smells like armpits.

Earlier this week I was looking through my NFT (Not For Tourists) Travel Guide for DC and realized that the bookstore Politics & Prose is not far from my new apartment. I know of this popular local store from watching BookTV on C-Span2. They host many book signings with famous (and infamous) authors. It was not until yesterday that I realized it was so close to me, and discovered some interesting events on their website.

Tonight the bookstore hosted former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, currently promoting his Bush-bashing memoir, What Happened. The event was packed, as you can see from the picture. I could see nothing, but I wasn't missing much. He had a microphone so I heard all I needed to hear. It was a miserably hot day and the place was so full that an employee began to turn people away right at 7pm because it was dangerously full. Eventually she let people in and had them file against the walls to leave the center path open. It was a fiasco. A very hot, sweaty, body-odory fiasco.

I left early so I'm not sure how long McClellan spoke. After about 45 minutes the heat got to me and my eyeballs were sore from repeatedly rolling toward the back of my head. It was difficult for me to stand and listen silently. Along with rolling my eyes, I was biting my tongue to avoid outbursts like, "Why Now?" and "Yeah, No Shit!" to McClellan stating the obvious. I was holding a glass bottle and had to put it down. I was so frustrated, I was afraid the beverage container would shatter in my hand from pressure. Listening to Scott McClellan was a lot like listening to Roger Clemens at the baseball steroid hearing. Just another Good Ol' Boy from Texas who trusted the wrong person.


It was difficult enough to hear McClellan talk about himself and how wonderful he is, but the real frustration came from the reaction of the crowd. Most of the people around me seemed to be listening patiently (at least their backsides suggested an attentive stature) and I saw no one close to reaching their boiling point the way I was. I looked around, desperately finding someone with whom to exchange a knowing glance. I did not find that person.

After speaking for a half hour, McClellan received a loud round of applause and some outbursts with an excited "Woot!" here and there in the crowd; he then took questions from the audience. I only stayed for three questions, but they were mostly statements and random Bush bashing. People love to hear themselves talk, and I realize the desperation that many people feel when it comes to the political climate in this country. It goes beyond that though, people really seem to like this guy. I don't get it. Most of what he said about Washington culture and the Bush administration was obvious. He spoke of himself as if he were so far above it, and so disturbed about the Iraq War and the outing of Valerie Plame. He even went on about how he feels that the death penalty is immoral and how he struggled with his personal feelings when he worked for Bush. I think listeners felt really sympathetic toward him, but I don't get it. McClellan started working for Bush in 2000. Bush was the king of executions when he first ran for president. This was something the Democrats brought up repeatedly in the 2000 campaign. Was McClellan on Prozac for six years? Did he cry himself to sleep every night working for this horrible man named Bush? It just doesn't add up.

As far as I can tell, McClellan isn't getting too much scrutiny because people are actually relieved that someone finally validated their suspicions about Bush. So, the former Press Secretary writes a book and the American public tells him to say Two Hail Mary's and four Our Fathers and he's absolved of any guilt. I guess I'd make a crappy priest (too many x chromosomes anyway) but I can't just pat this guy on the back when he was complicit the whole time. Frankly, I'm a little disgusted that he's suddenly discovered his conscience several years and over 4,000 military casualties later. He finally reveals his inside information about the Bush White House, not for the good of the country, but to sell his book.


So, between the rolling of eyes, the boiling of blood pressure, and the gamy smell of an overly packed room in 100 degree heat, I left the event early. I figured I'd hear what he had to say when he testifies in front of Congress. I hope he took some direct questions after I left; but while I was there - everyone seemed pretty pleased with what Mr. McClellan had to say. Bush bashing is a popular (but not very challenging) thing to do these days.

While I'm pretty unimpressed with the former Press Secretary, I was impressed with Politics & Prose. It's popular among the locals and has a great reputation. Next week George Will is going to be signing copies of his new book and I may have to get there in time to get a seat for that one. George Will is someone I never expected to agree with, but when I read his columns in Newsweek or see his political commentary on television, I usually end up agreeing with him. Too bad I can't afford to buy his new book. Maybe I could get him to sign my Newsweek.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Scott is braver than you think. Bush is not leaving office, he can't do the jail time and the Ranch in Bolivia is not ready yet. Scotty will be thrown in the BU$H AMERIKA reform camps with idiot pirates like me.

Uncle Pirate