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The Hughes Report
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The Duplicity of Scott McClellan
Topic: Politics
Scott McClellan is the son of attorney Barr McClellan and politician Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  The couple's other sons include Mark and twins Brad and Dudley, all connected in state or national politics.  Mark McClellan was appointed head of the FDA by President Bush, and is now Medicare director.  Barr McClellan, an operative in the Lyndon Johnson campaign, was later disciplined by the bar association for improprieties, and published a book that alleged that President Johnson was behind the John Kennedy assassination.

Strayhorn is the ultimate Austin political insider, daughter of UT law school dean W. Page Keeton, a local legend in the state's most liberal city.  She was elected the first woman mayor of Austin, appointed to the Board of Insurance by Democrat governor Mark White, elected to the Texas Railroad Commission, and then elected Comptroller.  At some point, in a field cluttered with Democrats, seeing the political winds shifting toward Republicans, Strayhorn switched parties.  As Comptroller, she stirred controversy by revoking the tax-exempt status of a Unitarian church, a decision later reversed.

After divorcing McClellan, Strayhorn consecutively married Curtis H. Rylander and Ed Strayhorn.  While running for governor in 2006, she called the incumbent a "weak leadin', ethics ignorin', pointin' the finger at everyone blamin', special session callin', public school slashin', slush fund spendin', toll road buildin', special interest panderin', rainy day fund raidin', fee increasin', no property tax cuttin', promise breakin', do nothin' Rick Perry phony conservative," evoking memories of Ann Richards' 1988 "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" speech.  In contrast, she characterized herself a "common-sense conservative" and "one tough grandma."  With a reputation for working against the interests of the party, she is at best described as a maverick, and at worst a "stealth Democrat."

Knowing Scott McClellan's progeniture, it was a surprise in the first place that he gained a front-line post in the Bush Administration.  But then, one of President Bush's greatest vulnerabilities has proved to be his magnanimity toward Democrats and holdovers from the previous administration.  Bill Clinton fired government lawyers wholesale upon entering office; Attorney General Gonzales fired eight, and was skewered by the news media.  With the benefit of hindsight, it stands to reason that many members of the Administration, presumed to be loyal, would turn out to be moles and turncoats.

    "A scorpion and a frog met on the bank of a stream.  'Carry me across on your back,' the scorpion proposed.  'How do I know you will not sting me?' asked the frog.  'Because if I do, I will die, too,' asserted the scorpion.

    "They set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stung the frog.  The frog started to sink.  Knowing they would both drown, the frog had just enough time to gasp, 'But why?'

    "The scorpion replied, "I am a scorpion, and that is my nature.”

Posted by hughes at 4:30 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 29, 2008 4:38 PM CDT

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