Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This old gray mare is worse than she used to be.

Helen Thomas is going to have to learn the same lesson about age-induced obsolescence that Dan Rather, Woody Hayes and Joan Crawford have so painfully learned. That lesson is; Retire before making a complete ass out of yourself . . . repeatedly. She has written one of the truly great wastes of wood pulp, a mindless conifer killer. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was written for electronic venue only. In which case it's just a sad waste of effort and time, her effort and our time. I don't think she was this bad before that house fell on her sister.

She says, for instance:
Since he took over the post of White House spokesman from Ari Fleischer on July 15, 2003, McClellan has lived up to his self-described role as an advocate for President George W. Bush.
Let me see here. Scott McClellen's job title is Press Secretary to the President of the United States, who, last I checked, was George W. Bush. That would make him one of his boss's advocates. If he failed to perform in such a manner, then the president would in all likelihood say, and rightfully so, "Yer fahrd!" Thomas refers to his job title as the White House spokesman, which is not correct. If it were correct, then he would be speaking for the White House which is, after checking closely, occupied by one George W. Bush.

She, unfortunately, continues:
It's only recently that he admits to wearing another hat -- one that is obligatory, as he put it -- that requires him "to make sure the American people are getting an accurate account of what is going on here in Washington."
If he didn't do that, she intimates, we could all rely on the NYT, WaPo, LAT, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS to tell us what is really going on in Washington.
That will be the day.
She does have a bit of a point here, however. McClellen is going to be repeatedly and purposely misquoted, anyway, so it is a bit of a waste of his time.

Undaunted by the sheer irrelevancy of what she is regurgitating, she meanders onward:
But he has a lot more to answer for, especially in carrying out the administration's battle plan of pumping up the case for war with Iraq with fibs.
Meaning, I would surmise, that he has something to answer for to Helen Thomas. He has absolutely nothing to answer for to Helen Thomas, the antique geriatric gasbag. He has only to answer to his boss, who, after recently checking, is still George W. Bush. And let's name some of those "fibs". What exactly did he say that was fibberish in nature and when did he say it? Come on, HH, name one. If you're going to accuse someone 1/4 your age of telling fibs, you had best be quoting that person's fibs in an up front manner so that all can see. She's not finished yet, at least in those portions of her mind which still function clearly, after a fashion.
Day after day, McClellan spoke of Miers' "unique" qualifications for the high bench. He stopped that pitch right after her appointment was pulled.
Really? Say it ain't so. He praised the appointee as the appointee when she was the appointee and then stopped praising her as the appointee when she was no longer the appointee. Somehow the logic of that has escaped the doddering dowager. Does Ford still advertise the Model A? Does IBM still have salesmen on the stump for the Displaywriter with 264K bytes of memory? Seen anyone parading around with "I Like Ike" campaign buttons lately? Sheesh. Plowing, or perhaps stumbling forward, she says,
His technique when briefing White House reporters boils down to "the best defense is offense," and he does not hesitate to use it when the going gets tough.
I am no more sure of her meaning here than she is. Did she mean, "the best defense is a good offense", as in going on the offensive, like the United States Marines and Indianapolis Colts? Or did she mean that he gives offense, as in becoming offensive, like Helen Thomas, Howard Dean or Terrell Owens? Who knows? Who cares?
Obviously, he is on a short leash and comes into the press briefing room with one page of scribbled notes.
Define "short leash". Does that mean he operates under some set of instructions or rules, like, oh, almost everybody? Is she suggesting that he should be operating under no control whatsoever like, say, Jesse James or Mary Mapes or Mark in Mexico? And only one page of scribbled notes. Does that mean hand-written? Sloppily hand-written? Chicken tracks on paper? And what, in Helen Thomas's rapidly clouding thought processes, would be an appropriate number of pages of notes? 2 pages or 200 pages or 2000 pages or should he have the contents of the Library of Congress wheeled in on carts before every press conference? Does he wear brown shoes with gray socks and a navy blue suit? Are his nails properly trimmed? Did he brush his teeth this morning? Is he wearing clean underwear? All these likewise important facts she manages to leave out. Just to keep us guessing, I guess. But the worst insult to the hallowed White House Press Corp's queen mother/matriarch/hag without portfolio is:
McClellan always opens his briefings with a big smile, even with the White House enveloped in a bunker mentality, as it has been lately.
Maybe tomorrow he'll open his briefing with a sawed-off 12 gauge magnum auto-loader. So she doesn't like his big smile. In the words of Vlad "The Impaler" Putin, "Tufski shitski." I'm finished here. I have wasted more time and effort on this than it deserves, by a long shot.

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