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Political Animal

Spin for Sale

By Brian Morton | Posted 12/22/2004

Say there! You—yeah, you. C’mere—you look like you want to make a buck. You’re a clever guy, you look like nobody’s fool—you think you’ve got it in you to sell the newest, hottest commodity going? Hey, bud, anybody can sell used cars. Rolexes? That’s for wusses who sit in their underwear spamming grannies for their kids’ Christmas presents on the internet. You want to be the top dog, selling to clients that are supposed to be the world’s toughest customers?

Sell some White House spin. Now that’s a man’s job, baby. Two or three times a day, you get to walk into a room full of the world’s oldest fifth-period social studies class, complete with whiny prima donnas, showboats, pretty boys, social climbers, rich kids, ADD-afflicted malcontents, and single-issue blow-hards, and sell them stuff that no real, 9-to-5 ,earnest, no-bullshit American would buy with Donald Trump’s money.

It’s not like you’ve got to sell the steak, either—you’re pushing 100 percent, guaranteed sizzle. Hot air and dreams. You’re putting out stuff that, by the time the warrantee comes to term, you’ll be long gone, pulling down six figures at some cushy law firm or PR agency—or better still, you’ll be dining on the lobster bought from the fat book contract you got from working in a pabulum mill like this one for three or four years.

The last guy who did this job, a shyster by the name of Ari Fleischer? He lied his way through almost three solid years of this gig—telling people that what they heard wasn’t what they thought they heard, contradicting things he said not days before, and generally selling black as white and white as black until the day he walked out the door. After that, he went out and started selling himself to the after-dinner speech crowd and he isn’t crying for dough.

Look at the king of the shills today, Scotty McClellan. Watch this guy and you’ll go places. He doesn’t worry squat about answering anything anybody asks him—that’s for wusses like the Clinton administration’s people. All they had to lie about was sex, and hell, anyone can do that—look at the docket in any civil court that handles divorces. No, this McClellan guy, when he’s asked a specific question, he broadens the focus so that he doesn’t have to answer it at all. Here he is on Dec. 17, dealing with a reporter’s question about Republican criticism of Don Rumsfeld:

Q: Is the President surprised by the frustration of Senator Lott and other Republican senators about Secretary Rumsfeld?

McCLELLAN: I think the President is focused on working closely with Senator—with Secretary Rumsfeld to win the war on terrorism. That’s where his focus is. Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job, leading our efforts at the Department of Defense to win the war on terrorism and to help bring about a free and peaceful Iraq. And the President is focused on working closely with him on those matters.

Q: Does the President—is he interested in talking to Senator Lott, Senator McCain, and others about why they are coming out now and speaking about . . .

McCLELLAN: Well, we visit with congressional leaders all the time. The President is going to remain focused on working on our nation’s priorities, and working with his Cabinet to address those priorities.

Brilliant, eh? It’s like if I ask you, “Hey, Bob, how’s your aunt?” and you answer, “Well, all my relatives are in pretty good health.” I didn’t ask you about all your relatives—I asked you about one specific aunt—but it doesn’t matter, because if everyone else cares about whatever their myopic problem is, nobody gives a hoot that I don’t answer your particular question.

Now, you have to remember, McClellan’s only taking his cues from the big boss—just watch how he hammers home one point, over and over. In this case, it’s the president on Dec. 10th, selling the idea that Social Security is . . . well, you’ll get the idea in a second:

The question is, does this country have the will to address the problem? I think it must. I think we have a responsibility to solve problems before they become acute. . . . [W]e must be willing to address this problem. . . . [T]he time is ready for us to solve this problem. . . . I think what’s really important in the discussions is to understand the size of the problem. . . . What’s important . . . before we begin any discussion is to understand the scope of the problem. And that’s why these trustees are vital in helping educate the American people—and Congress— as to the size of the problem. And I will not prejudge any solution. I think it’s very important for the first step to be a common understanding of the size of the problem. . . .”

No problem, see what I’m saying? There may be a job for you in this sales biz just yet. Just watch and learn, watch and learn.

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The Fix (8/4/2010)

Police State (7/7/2010)

Funny Business (6/9/2010)

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