I watched Scott McClellan's briefing shortly after the Great Cessna Panic on Wednesday. At that point I found his vague harrumphing more forgivable--I figured it was still a fluid situation and he probably didn't have all the facts. But the subsequent revelation that President Bush was not informed of the whole crisis until after he finished his bucolic bicycle ride made me a little unhappy. And this Pirandellian dialogue
between McClellan and the White House press corps (via Editor & Publisher) is absolutely mortifying. The best, which is to say the worst, exchange:
Q: Right, but there seems to be so many disconnects here. You've got a plane that was assessed as not being a threat, you've got 35,000 people evacuated, you've got a person who you claim is a hands-on commander in chief who is left to go ride his bicycle through the rural wildlands of Maryland while his wife is in some secure location somewhere, it's just not adding up.
McCLELLAN: Well, John, I disagree, and let me tell you why: You have highly skilled professionals who are involved in situations like this, in a variety of different fronts, from our Homeland Security officials to our National Security Council officials to our Secret Service officials and to others and to local officials, and they work very closely together. The protocols that were put in place were followed, and I think they were followed well.
This kind of ducking and weaving amounts to a civic menace. Thomas Jefferson had it right: I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.