S<u>n</u>owcroft: A Mistake or on Purpose?

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scowcroft legacy.jpg
Earlier today, I wrote about the interesting press gaggle comment by White House spokesperson Dana Perino that Bush was not a “gambler.”
When I read the original transcript of the meeting, I saw this line:

Q Is he familiar with the Snowcroft letter, I guess signed by a bunch of other folks, as well, saying basically that if there is either nothing accomplished at this session, or very little accomplished, it risks devastating consequences in the region?

Since I have helped get a great number of the signers for this letter — and to get it pushed out into the public eye, I know that the questioner meant “Brent Scowcroft,” not someone named “Snowcroft.”
I don’t know if the recorder of the meeting spelled it incorrectly or whether the questioner incorrectly pronounced Scowcroft — but clearly, the “Scowcroft letter” is what was intended.
When Dana Perino responded though, she didn’t call him “Snowcroft” or “Scowcroft”; she referred to him as “the gentleman you mentioned” in response to the questioner.
Since I succeeded yesterday in getting the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery of Art to fix the spelling of Bartlesville, Oklahoma — I thought I’d try again on a similar front. I called the White House, informed two different staff of the error and was told that my “concern would be passed on.” Tonight nothing has been fixed.
A former senior White House staff person in the Bush administration told me today that they may not be able to fix the spelling if the recording shows that the questioner pronounced it wrong.
But what do they do when Bush mispronounces something? And what did they do when few people actually knew how to pronounce and get the cadence of Ahmadenijad? Did they just go with what flowed verbally?
Or do they still just hold a grudge against Scowcroft — and don’t want to fix his name in the transcript — just to dig at him a bit?
— Steve Clemons

Comments

20 comments on “S<u>n</u>owcroft: A Mistake or on Purpose?

  1. Kathleen says:

    Who??? Isn’t that what people asked when George McGovern nominated Tom Eagleton?

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    You guys…. some much needed chuckles today.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tenacious, these gophers.
    Steve should take a peek out his back window, that was McClellon that just rode through on an elephant.

    Reply

  4. Ben Rosengart says:

    Carroll, credit where credit’s due. Castro offered to send election observers in 2000.

    Reply

  5. downtown says:

    This Administration holding grudges? Surely you jest.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    And make no mistake, there are very real consequences for the rhetorical flourish that pretends Mr. SNowcroft does not exist. That he did not say what he said. Perino just disappeared him from the Q & A. It’s a thin line between marginalizing someone and rendering them elsewhere. Say, to a gulag.
    Posted by rich at November 28, 2007 11:44 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I haven’t seen any consequences yet…except for them losing a few of their flackies.
    So far there have been few consequences for any politicos except those who got caught in gay entanglements or the ones the FBI caught dead to rights in their corruption.
    In fact the FBI and Larry Flynt seem to be the only two exposing our politicans….our politicans sure aren’t doing their governmental duty of investigating and consequencing themselves.

    Reply

  7. LeaNder says:

    “In that vein … one could also view her reference to Scowcroft in a wide array of possibilities, such as tactfully acknowledging a mispronunciation without being blatant as an immediate correction might be construed, as well as being a tacky brushoff.”
    The special way I have come to love, among the wide array of possibilities, is if someone first answers the with the corrected name in mind,then – almost as if an afterthought while passing on – add a statement on the subject with the correct pronunciation.
    I guess I like the hesitancy of this approach.
    But neither the frankly direct nor the more polite degrees of indirectness in dealing with the problem will be your choice; if you do not want to put too much stress on matter or person.
    That said. … A tiny little detail under the microscope.

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  8. Percy Percy says:

    On the topic of pronunciation, why wasn’t Bush coached on the names of the people he was playing host to?
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/11/27/countdown-bush-bolts-after-photo-op-at-middle-east-peace-summit/

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  9. rich says:

    jonst–
    that was ‘sposed to be Perino’s WH response to Clemons’ question. (& a 1st comment inspired by this post).
    Refusal to recognize is Bush’s MO.
    “Who?” is par for the course. Refusal to recognize “the gentleman you mentioned” is the dead giveaway.
    Not gonna recognize, at all. It’s a brick wall. Responsiveness is for Americans. Something he’s not subject to. NOt gonna recognize Poppy; and not elder statesmen, not moderates, not the American People, not the rule of law, not the Constitution.
    “It’s just a Goddamn piece of paper” –GW Bush, 2006
    As Steve and Brent SNowcroft are finding out, it is in the interest of even conservative Republicans (i.e., in the national interest) to insist that every Administration be responsive to every American Citizen (i.e., the People in general). Because that attitude applies to everybody, inevitably.
    Never mind that it’s high handed and cuts against our values. There’s a shared interest: First they refused to respond to Liberals, and I said nothing, for I was not a Liberal. Then they refused to respect/recognize/work with Elected Officials (Cheney’s FU to Leahy), and I said nothing, for I was not a Sitting Senator. Then they refused to recognize Moderates, and I said nothing, for I was not a Moderate. Then they came for me / Conservative Insider Republicans–refusing to recognize even my name–and no one was left to speak for me.
    (Paraphrasing; same principle, if a different degree.)
    That’s how it works.
    Mr. SNowcroft already knows this. But he doesn’t get the lesson. It’s not good enough to voice one’s concerns privately. This is what the public arena is for; why democracy was created; why our Constitution protects public assembly, association, and speech. Under EVERY circumstance.
    THIS is really why commenters have been so concerned about the silence of Washington officials and insiders. It is THEIR speech we are standing up for and concerned with. Relying solely on channels underserves the public realm; not speaking up publicly destroys everyone’s ability to speak–and to be recognized.
    And make no mistake, there are very real consequences for the rhetorical flourish that pretends Mr. SNowcroft does not exist. That he did not say what he said. Perino just disappeared him from the Q & A. It’s a thin line between marginalizing someone and rendering them elsewhere. Say, to a gulag.
    The constant compulsion to bestow nicknames, rather than recognize the formal names and identities of the people Bush meets, is indicative of just how strong our Decider’s dicatatorial bent really is. Previously I would NOT have read so much into that habit, until catching Perino’s refusal to recognize. Common decency is about so much more than basic civility. That eliminationist rhetorical gambit could be the fulcrum on which the whole Annapolis process turns. (Or related stances.) Think: Maybe SNowcroft talks all day–and the unilateral WH takes it all away.
    I don’t believe SNowcroft is the answer. He’s a problematic figure in many respects. But I’ll defend to the death his right to be recognized–and to speak–even if he does not return that respect to the rest of us. So:
    Who?

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  10. ... says:

    steve, it’s wise to lower expectations of this administration and any ability they might have to ‘fix’ anything… they’re too busy making mistakes to get around to fixing them.

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  11. jonst says:

    the Decider, that’s who

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  12. jonst says:

    Steve,
    So now 6 years plus in to the Bush Admin we discover that Bush is a thin skinned, arrogant, ignorant, vindictive, little prick? Come on… What do you really expect of him?

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    I suggest the WH kids take lessons on put downs from Ahmadinejad. I think Ahmadinejad could have a second career hosting an Iranian Saturday Night Live.
    “Ahmadinejad Offers to Be an Observer at US Presidential Election”

    Reply

  14. dalivision says:

    Maybe the reporter was a plant?
    This admin will do anything to poke jabs at all who questions them.

    Reply

  15. erichwwk says:

    “My guess is that the reporter simply misspoke the name — likely out of ignorance — and that’s what the transcript reflects.”
    Mine too. Are the actual recordings available to the public?
    I’d be interested to know what the general practice is one these things.”
    I would hope the role of the recorder would be to record accurately what was said – and not pass judgment/ act as censor/editor and report what “should” have been said or might have been intended.
    In that vein, while I am not I fan of Dana, despite her being a graduate of a university where I once taught, one could also view her reference to Scowcroft in a wide array of possibilities, such as tactfully acknowledging a mispronunciation without being blatant as an immediate correction might be construed, as well as being a tacky brushoff.

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Even if a reporter mispronounced Scowcroft I would expect Perino to have said his name correctly. Surely she knows who he is, doesn’t she?
    Her whole response was tacky and deliberately brush-off anyway.
    Sounds like more of this WH’s typical juvenile behavior.

    Reply

  17. James Joyner says:

    My guess is that the reporter simply misspoke the name — likely out of ignorance — and that’s what the transcript reflects. I’d be interested to know what the general practice is one these things.

    Reply

  18. liz says:

    Steve , I realize you are close to the situation up in DC but if you’d step back a few steps, you would see the White House HATES Americans, especially the ones who ask questions and believe that Bush has near bout changed America into something one can only read about in history books.

    Reply

  19. Jaideep Dargan says:

    Steve — you are spot on in acknowledging Perino’s awkward, arms-length recognition of Scowcroft in the gaggle — though I wonder the likelihood of the President actually heeding the advice of his father’s best friend without throwing a fit (here I implicitly reference a passage, if my memory serves me well, in Bob Woodward’s State of Denial, in which the President reportedly lashes out at his father after the former President handed his son memo penned by Brent on how to stabilize Iraq). I also would not put “holding grudges” past the Bush 43 crowd, since that’s how we got into Iraq in the first place.

    Reply

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