Reports of Bush Insider Defections Greatly Exaggerated

November 23, 2007

Though things have begun to turn around in Iraq and Bush’s perseverance is in route to vindication, don’t expect any mea culpas from the Bush bashers. Predictably, we’re just witnessing new tactics in their seven years war to destroy him.

They thought they’d hit the jackpot with the excerpts from the new book by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. McClellan claims, “I had unknowingly passed along false information (about Scooter Libby and Karl Rove’s role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case). And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself.”

From Chris Matthews to Keith Olbermann to David Shuster, mainstream-media talking heads thought they’d uncovered another smoking gun in the president’s hand. The print big boys took their cue.

The Los Angeles Times apparently saw this as an opening to resurrect an older story first appearing in The New York Times on April 1, 2007, detailing how ex-Bush aide Matthew Dowd had “lost faith in Bush.”

Dowd, a Texas Democrat, had signed on with Bush because he “was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington.” But after being part of Bush’s “political brain trust” for six years, he decided that Bush was not living up to his promise.

But that’s old news, right? Not quite. The Los Angeles Times rehashed the story again last week in what appears to be a shameless ploy to pile on Bush with this “Bush insiders turn on Bush” theme.

As usual, this is just more hot air with no substance. As for the mainstream-media spin that McClellan claimed Bush deceived him on Plame, Peter Osnos, head honcho of McClellan’s publisher, Public Affairs Books, flatly says that McClellan “did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him.” Osnos said Bush told McClellan what “he thought to be the case.” And, McClellan believes that “the president didn’t know it was not true.”

Don’t expect any retractions from the mainstream media since their original story will continue to serve their purpose of painting Bush, Cheney and Rove as despicable demons.

But how about the dramatic turnabout of Matthew Dowd from confidence to disappointment in Bush? Though the headline fits the mainstream media’s “Bush is evil” template, what does the underlying LA Times story reveal?

Well, it shows Dowd switched parties when he started working with Bush because he was impressed with Bush’s track record as Texas governor in reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats. But he was obviously never a conservative, and his disenchantment with Bush’s policies clearly stem from his persistent ideological differences with Bush.

His liberal mindset caused him to buy into the Democratic line that Bush didn’t work with Democrats in Washington, ignored “the will of the people” on Iraq and governed with a “my way or the highway” mentality.

The most revealing part of the story is Dowd’s critique of Bush’s “acrimonious fight” with Democrats over Social Security. Dowd said Bush “had the chance, but not the desire, to reach out to Democrats.”

Absent his blinding leftist bias, Dowd would understand that Bush did try to set a “new tone” and bring in Democrats to help craft policy in education, taxes, Social Security and elsewhere. He would see that from the very beginning — Bush-Gore 2000 in Florida — the Democrats met Bush’s bipartisan overtures with stabs in the back.

Democrats falsely accused Bush of trying to destroy Social Security and wouldn’t even negotiate as long as Bush insisted on pursuing very limited privatization. On taxes, they have endlessly played the class warfare card. On Katrina, they played the race card. On Iraq and the war on terror, they’ve obstructed every step of the way and called him Hitler.

What Democrats, including Dowd, really mean by Bush’s dictatorial approach to governing is that he wouldn’t abandon his policies in favor of theirs.

Why don’t we ever read any stories about their partisanship, their refusal to reach across the aisle, their refusal to allow Bush to be commander in chief — especially now that he is being vindicated in Iraq? Don’t journalistic ethics and fairness demand some stories that Bush’s so-called stubbornness on Iraq can now be seen as admirable vision during time of war?

All the recent hype about Bush insiders defecting is just so much propaganda. If anything, these insider “defections” show what often happens when Republicans rely on Democrats to work with them for the common good.