Well, it looks like Karl Rove has called a play and broke the huddle, because every member of the administration is now on the same page. The official new mantra coming out of Washington is that anyone who dare hold the government accountable for their actions and inaction is simply playing "the blame game."
As we all know, no one sticks to a script better than loveable lapdog Scottie McClellan. This exchange with David Gregory -- whom I'm hoping is on a good blood pressure medication -- is a classic.
Q Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?While I admire Scottie's zombie-like ability to stick to the script and his ability to coin new terms like "blame-gaming," I think he might be protesting too much. As Jon Stewart pointed out tonight, when you're this insistent that you don't want to play the blame game, it means you're to blame.
MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, see, this is where some people want to look at the blame game issue, and finger-point. We're focused on solving problems, and we're doing everything we can --
Q What about the question?
MR. McCLELLAN: We're doing everything we can in support --
Q We know all that.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
Q Does he retain complete confidence --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to continue. We appreciate the great effort that all of those at FEMA, including the head of FEMA, are doing to help the people in the region. And I'm just not going to engage in the blame game or finger-pointing that you're trying to get me to engage.
Q Okay, but that's not at all what I was asking.
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is. It's exactly what you're trying to play.
Q You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you've said enough now. I'm asking you a direct question, which you're dodging.
MR. McCLELLAN: No --
Q Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered the question.
Q Is the answer "yes" on both?
MR. McCLELLAN: And what you're doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.
Q There's a lot of criticism. I'm just wondering if he still has confidence.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and blame-gaming. What we're trying to do is solve problems, David. And that's where we're going to keep our focus.
Q So you're not -- you won't answer that question directly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.
Q No, you didn't. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn't he?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that's fine --
Q Scott, that's ridiculous. I'm not engaging in any of that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's not ridiculous.
Q Don't try to accuse me of that. I'm asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said -- that's exactly what you're engaging in.
Q I'm not engaging in anything. I'm asking you a question about what the President's views are --
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely -- absolutely --
Q -- under pretty substantial criticism of members of his administration. Okay? And you know that, and everybody watching knows that, as well.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, everybody watching this knows, David, that you're trying to engage in a blame game.
Q I'm trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q I am trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct.
Q That's a dodge.
It's at times like these that I like to reflect on the wise words of President Bush:
America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected.That was from his inaugural address. Haven't heard much about personal responsibility since then. Maybe it only applied to important issues like presidential blowjobs and not minor stuff like the death of thousands because of ineptitude and incompetence.
Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free.
(Via Atrios, TBogg and First Draft.)