Behind the Curtain
David Greene of NPR has a new Pennsylvania Avenue commentary up that gives a little glimpse behind the White House curtain. He reminds us of statements made by Ari Fleischer at the same podium where Joe Lockhart struggled through the Monica briefings only scant months before:
“You all will use your own judgment in determining whether this administration is acting in a proper and ethical fashion,” said Mr. Bush’s press secretary at the time, Ari Fleischer. He was standing in the very spot where Lockhart had dodged Lewinsky questions almost daily.
“The president has said that he will return honor and dignity to the White House,” Fleischer continued. “I think, by every fair measure, the American people are satisfied that that is what he is doing.”
Ooops, maybe it didn’t quite work out as well as they hoped this week.
The spin machine has a hitch in its giddy-up, and it is truly starting to show. Scott McCellan has been all but frothing at the mouth during briefings of late, and the Preznit has developed a couple of annoying facial tics. Thankfully for Matt Lauer, there were witnesses around during the Today Show interview in Louisiana earlier — that hammer the Preznit was carrying on his George the Builder tool belt looked a little scary.
Staying on message becomes a little more difficult when the people who craft that message are facing the possibility of indictments.
For a president who likes his aides to dress well, be on time and act above dirty politics, for a White House that draws a clear distinction between public and private, the revelations about Rove and Libby and their background conversations with reporters have been troublesome, striking a blow to the persona Mr. Bush has striven to project.
Once that curtain is raised, the huckster salesman has an awfully hard time convincing anyone that he truly is a wizard after all.