Apparently, as Bush and his crew left for Texas as the inauguration crowds booed (it has to be the first time in 8 years that Bush had been at an event where the “crowd” wasn’t either/or US military, reporters, or checked/confirmed Bush supporters), there were some complaints on the plane about how Obama’s inaugural speech had criticised the Bush administration.
And now, as far as some of them were concerned, the new president had used his inaugural lectern to give the back of the hand to a predecessor who had been nothing but gracious to him.
Karen Hughes: “There were a few sharp elbows that really rankled and I felt were not as magnanimous as the occasion called for. He really missed an opportunity to be as big as the occasion was and, frankly, as gracious as President Bush was as he left office.”
Dan Bartlett: “It was a missed opportunity to bring some of the president’s loyal supporters into the fold.”
Marc A. Thiessen: “It was an ungracious inaugural. It was pretty clear he was taking shots.”
Karen, Dan, Marc: I want to tell you a story, kids. About a really ungracious transition.
A new President came in, with a new staff. Damaging rumours were spread in Washington that the White House had been left trashed. Computers had been filled with pr0n downloads. Pr0n had been pasted on walls. Cables and wires had been slashed. The new White House press secretary told reporters that the damage included the removal of the letter “W” from 100 computer keyboards, five missing brass nameplates with the presidential seal on them, 75 telephones with cover plates missing or apparently intentionally plugged into the wrong wall outlets, six fax machines relocated in the same way, ten cut phone lines, two historic door knobs missing, overturned desks and furniture in about 20 percent of the offices, obscene graffiti in six offices, and eight 14-foot loads of usable office supplies recovered from the trash, and a photocopy machine that had copies of naked people hidden in the paper tray so they would come out from time to time with other copies. The new President wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports, saying he just wanted to “move on”.
Eighteen months later, after an official investigation, the Government Accounting Office published a report: it had all been lies. There had been no campaign of wilful damage, no pr0n pasteups, graffiti, slashed cables: the condition the White House and associated offices had been left in had been usual and expected.
This was the Bush administration’s “gracious” transition, Karen, Dan, Marc: your team began, in January 2001, by trashing your precedessors. Your President, whom you were touting as an example of “graciousness”, sat back as lies ran about Bill Clinton’s administration, and smirked a “let’s just move on”. You complain that Obama’s inaugural speech was “sharp-elbowed”? You’ve got nothing.