Dick Morris and Scott McClellan

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This hadn't occurred to me until now, but Wickle makes a good point. People who like Bill Clinton and hate the current president tend to distrust Dick Morris but are now loving Scott McClellan and saying he's a hero for turning on Bush. People who support the president and hate the Clintons tend to love Dick Morris for speaking the truth about the Clinton Administration but think Scott McClellan is a liar and a traitor.

Isn't there some kind of inconsistency going on here? The situations seem reasonably parallel. The presumption should be to distrust both or to accept both (probably the former more than the latter, since it's generally a good idea to be more charitable to people being criticized than to those doing the criticizing). You need an argument, then, for why you should treat one as a hero for speaking the truth and the other as a liar and a traitor to all that's good. There may well be some considerations for doing that in either direction, but are there any that are so compelling to justify such a stark difference in treatment? I suspect not.

All administrations have their flaws, and all people have their negatives. There's probably something to what both men have said, and they've probably both exaggerated and taken events out of context. Perhaps there are outright lies involved. This isn't about the particulars of what they've said. It's about how people have treated them. I can't explain the disparity of treatment by either side unless it's based it on partisan assumptions that one political party is always on the side of righteousness while the other is always motivated only by the purest evil, and thus anyone who turns on one is a hero while anyone who turns on the other is the enemy.

3 Comments

Well, suppose that one had independent evidence that Bush was terrible and Clinton was great. This would justify an asymmetrical response to someone who turned against Bush, with respect to someone who turned against Clinton.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is not just an Arab proverb, it is human nature.

I don't particularly like either figure, but I am extremely appreciative that both of them are speaking/have spoken the (as far as I can tell) truth about their respective bosses.

I suppose my bias is to believe those who appear to be "speaking truth to power" as opposed to a partisan bias. Though it does seem in both cases that there is a decent amount of independent verification of the accounts (e.g. the Phase II report from the Senate Intelligence Committee).

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