Stayin’ Classy

In early 2001, shortly after Bush’s inauguration, there were stories about the damage caused to the White House and other offices by the outgoing Clinton Administration.  While alluding to the horror of what the hillbillies had done and the unnecessary costs for repair which would be paid by the American taxpayer, Bush Administration spokespeople declined to catalog specific instances, citing instead their pledge to bring “civility” back to the White House.

As it turned out, there was no factual basis to the hysteria.

Fast forward to the Bush-to-Obama transition:  You may recall that the Obamas were told they could not move into Blair House a few weeks early so their daughters could start school on schedule.  The reasons given were suspiciously murky.

White House officials declined to disclose specifically who is using Blair House during that period, for what purpose or how they could take precedence over the president-elect of the United States when it came to government housing; one White House official would say only that it had been booked for “receptions and gatherings” by members of the departing Bush administration. Those receptions, the official said, “don’t make it suitable for full-time occupancy by the Obamas yet.”

As it turns out, there was no apparent factual basis here either.  While former Australian Prime Minister John Howard is indeed spending one night at Blair House during the two-week period requested by the Obamas, Margaret Carlson reported on last night’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that Mr. Howard was invited to stay at Blair House after the Obamas were told that it would be occupied and was therefore not available for them.

A small story against the backdrop of the utter mess the Obama Administration will be inheriting?  You bet.  But somehow I find the extreme pettiness and outright lying about even minor matters showed by the Bush Administration at both its dawn and its dusk oddly reassuring, if only because it’s consistent.

7 Responses to “Stayin’ Classy”

  1. tas says:

    I’d just like to note, since I know he won’t publish my comments, that James Joyner is still a complete fuckass.

    The failure of the Right to recognize basic common courtesy infuriates me. I know you made a post about the GOP and Game Theory working towards bipartisanship, and maybe a few will crack, but this — right here — displays the attitudes of the highest echelons of the Republican party. These people will not work with anyone who doesn’t get down on their knees and suck Republican dick. The disrespect constantly displayed by these assholes is contemptible.

    • DrGail says:

      Their sophomoric behavior can be infuriating, I agree. I prefer to watch their antics, however, with the sort of amused detachment generally reserved for an ill-behaved puppy that belongs to someone else. Perhaps it’s easier for me because I’ve had a lifetime of learning to avoid being hooked by an (evil) sister who engages in the same sort of pettiness, hoping to get a rise out of whoever is watching and, ultimately, being able to satisfy herself that she is in some small way superior to everyone around her. Huh, now that I type this I realize that I at least some good has come from having such an evil sister.

      I’m sticking by my assertion in the Game Theory post: someone, eventually, will crack and start cooperating. This belief is buttressed by seeing the sort of political savvy exhibited by Obama in winning people over. Until it happens, though, remember that it will likely get far worse and more vicious before it gets better.

  2. gcotharn says:

    Pres. Bush, out of sense of patriotism, has gone to greater lengths than Pres. Clinton did to ease the transition. I find it petty to seize on one dubiously leaked/dubiously reported circumstance as excuse to bash him for being somehow ungracious.

    The original reporting was that Blair House was scheduled for receptions during that time period – but the purported use doesn’t matter: Blair House has traditionally been used by the existing administration during that time period. It was perfectly proper for Obama to request it; it was perfectly proper for the request to be denied. No harm, no foul. Obama’s family is getting along fine in a hotel during this time period. I find it ungracious that an Obama aide leaked this story in an effort to bash Pres. Bush.

    I think you guys are ignoring the larger perspective: Pres. Bush is graciously aiding the transition in ways never done before – ways designed to help the Obama Administration hit the ground running. This is a definite help to Obama. The Blair House thing is a gnat which I expect has been spun and misreported. In this instance, you guys are exhibiting both lack perspective and pettiness.

    • DrGail says:

      I’ll say this for you, gcotharn, you’re consistent. I wonder, though, do you ever get tired of defending President Bush? As the ranks of people willing to join you in cheerleading for Bush have dwindled, the burden on you has undoubtedly increased to epic proportions. Kudos to you for your dogged persistence.

  3. gcotharn says:

    Dr. Gail,

    I dislike Pres. Bush’ policies in many areas – yet that is irrelevant to my point about lack of perspective regarding Pres. Bush graciously, patriotically helping Barack.

    • DrGail says:

      gcotharn: I don’t know how you saw the whole incident regarding Blair House, but to many of us (including Margaret Carlson who, despite her kinda goofy glasses, is pretty savvy and well-connected) it came across as “You can’t stay there because we say so. It’s ours to control, at least until Jan 20, and we don’t want to let you in. No matter how it disrupts you, your children, other people, business at the hotel where you end up staying. We don’t care about that. Never mind about how important children are, or how essential it is that they have a stable environment and a good education, we don’t care.” It’s petty. There’s no way around it. (FWIW, I understand that there are frequently pranks perpetrated by the outgoing president’s staff against the incoming president’s staff, and they’re generally pretty juvenile even when they’re also rather amusing.) But this was just mean and small. It hurt the Obama children, it disrupts Washington DC, it undoubtedly hurts the Hay-Adams Hotel’s business, and increases Secret Service expenses to protect the family of the President-Elect. And for what? Just so the outgoing administration can flex its muscles? Give me a break.

  4. Kathy says:

    I actually like Margaret Carlson’s glasses. She looks friendly, real, normal. I mean, after inflated rubber dolls like Gretchen Carlson (hey! I just realized as I typed this that they have the same last name!), Margaret Carlson makes me feel a little happier just watching her.

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