Well, what to make of Scott McCellan? I liked Peggy Noonan's simple take: "is it true?"
I used to give much credence to political converts in these matters, but McCellan reminds me that there are a few additional, untidy variables to consider such as "what is the political headwind?" and "does he stand to gain from the conversion?"
McCellan obviously flags both tests since the political wind is heavily favored towards the brainlessness of the (ironically) dishonest slogan "Bush Lied, People Died", rather than anything more serious such as Doug Feith's book. (Noonan writes: "What's needed now? More memoirs, more data, more information, more testimony. More serious books, like Doug Feith's.")
A rather banal thing to consider is how another's sins put such a strain on otherwise decent people. You see it over and over and over, of course. It's hard to imagine the use of an atomic weapon except in the context of the surreal evilness of the leadership of Japan and Germany. Torture is repugnant except in the ticking time-bomb scenerio. Saddam Hussein's evil was of such a level that one could see the desire of Bush to fudge, if in fact he did.
You can also see it in more subtle things though. Like Al Gore and the 2000 recount. (A bit of comedy: "The New Yorker" imprimaturs the veracity of the Democratic propaganda film "Recount" where elsewhere it is said to be completely false.)
First, you see Al Gore making Richard Nixon look good by failing to graciously concede as Nixon did in '60. Pressure is put on the system by a main actor acting selfishly.
Then you see a joke of a state supreme court - i.e. Florida - make not even the slightest feint towards objectivity. Much more pressure is put on the system by a court acting without restraint.
These led the U.S. Supreme Court to make a decision that involved common sense, but common sense is often the opposite of following the law. The choices facing the Supremes included ending the charade or giving Florida more time to get it right, and one suspects that the latter might've been the purer, more lawlerly decision.
Hillary's passionate defense of Hillary in this campaign makes one long to dream of it directed towards the nation's interest. You get the illusion that if this unbridled energy could be harnessed the world would be paradise. Or at least it makes you wish that politics were more like capitalism in that wealth is created despite personal selfishness.
With George Bush, on the other hand, one wishes his passionate feelings about Iraq might also be married to the interests of the nation's.
Hillary and Bush are complete opposites in that Bush was willing to completely destroy his political career in pursuit of a democracy in the Middle East, while Hillary is willing to destroy anything but her political career in pursuit of that political career.
Or one could say that Bush cares about absolutely nothing but what history will say one hundred years from now, while Hillary cares about absolutely nothing but the election right in front of her.
Of Obama, Mr. Berres sent me a piquant Mark Steyn quote he found on "The Corner":
As one of the early trailblazers for the Rev Wright put it, greater love hath no man than to lay down his friends for his life. In among all the usual presidential ditching of inconvenient associations, I can't think of anything to compare with Obama's dumping of Trinity.That seems a bit harsh, or perhaps it's rather that I approve of Obama's action since it's what I think he should've done 19.5 years ago. I'm not sure it's a big deal given that Protestants have a different conception of church. If you don't believe Jesus intended to found a visible Church, then leaving your small 'c' church seems small potatoes. Bone left his Vineyard for another church and I don't think less of him at all.