March 22, 2004
Jonathan Chait offers a surprisingly sympathetic take on Scott McClellan that paints him as an honest guy in the wrong business. Unlike the slippery Ari Fleischer, according to Chait's sources, McClellan is just a nice person who isn't good at telling bald-faced lies. And Chait interprets McClellan's visible uncomfortability at the daily gaggle as part of the reason the press has woken up lately. I wouldn't lay the blame so much on McClellan. The press was asleep all Fall on his watch, and I would attribute the tanking of the SOTU and that Meet the Press interview as the real causes of the media's new-found aggressiveness. Still Chait makes a good point. Ari Fleischer would certainly have deflected most off the juicy shots the press have leveled on McClellan.
Incidentally, while contrasting McClellan with the devious Fleischer, Chait makes reference to one of my favorite Mamet lines:
"[W]eak-willed insurance salesman George Aaronow tells consummate pro Ricky Roma, "When I talk to the police, I get nervous." "Yeah. You know who doesn't?" Roma replies. "Thieves."