There’s a superb piece by Mark Schmitt that’s been making the rounds. While most people have focused on the Republicans’ use of “Americaness” and identity politics, something near the beginning of the piece stuck with me–and I think it has a lot to do with how Scott McClellan is being treated (italics mine):
The Republican Party, though, has always had a different attitude about risk, almost courting disaster while the Democrats postponed it. In Building Red America, his slightly belated 2006 opus on the Republican plan for permanent power, Thomas B. Edsall points to studies showing that core Republicans are “confident risk-takers”–white men with a very high tolerance for hazard. But as Edsall notes, they are so confident because they have been generally insulated from the consequences of their risk-taking–think of George W. Bush’s career as an oil man, or of Bear Stearns, or of the quasi-celebrities whose messes are discreetly taken care of. And while conservative pundits and some of their politicians are in a state of panic, political strategists like Karl Rove carry themselves with the confident swagger of an investment banker who just lost $2 billion of someone else’s money but still has the Fifth Avenue apartment and the house in Bedford. Rove’s scheme to establish a 30-year reign of absolute Republican power increasingly looks like yet another gamble of the bubble economy, like a hedge-fund scheme that couldn’t fail until it failed.
Failure for the movement conservatives has little or nothing to do with the consequences of one’s actions. As long as one remains ideologically correct–even though this correctness is ultimately defined by politically loyalty–one has done nothing wrong. This is why they are jumping all over McClellan. Of course, if one can’t fail because of how one did, but only by what one believes, all failures must be placed on someone else’s shoulders, which in turn, leads to paranoia and scapegoating.
Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to the Republicans….