If you happen to be in trouble and have an unpopular case, cause, position, validation, vindication, redemption or resurrection to sell, I'm not entirely sure Ari Fleischer is your guy. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, doesn't appear to be one of Ari Flesicher's strongest suits. His most recent work with Mark McGwire turned out to be nothing much more than a moderately distanced foul ball. Not much has changed. And if it has, it hasn't been significantly for the better for the battered batter.
Fleischer seemed to get the foundation of the Big Mac redemption tour down pretty well. The stage was set well. There would be a ton of media attention. It would be a very big rollout and story. And after the revelation, the story would wither away. At least that must have been the strategy. But, as it turned out the Big Mac show wasn't nearly as impressive as the staging. An AP interview with Ron Blum immediately followed by Bob Costas' MLB Network sit-down, then Bob Ley's chat at ESPN, and a few others, reflected a man who unleashed his sorrow and guilt about his steroid useage. But his refusal to acknowledge that steroids helped in any way his inter-planetary 4 year run (1996-99) of 245 homeruns, a cosmic average of 61 per season, did him no good. And from 1997-thru 1999, McGwire averaged 153 games. He was present and accounted for 95% of the time, averaging 520 at bats per season. He was either healthy or really, really, healthy.
And, as much as McGwire would like to believe he would have hit every last homerun without the juice in his system, the court of public opinion seems to have tossed that case out of court. As a result the story, which I imagine Fleischer wanted to extinguish with this week-long caravan, remains very much alive. McGwire was at a fan fest in St. Louis on Sunday, where the Cardinals fans warmly welcomed home the wounded prodigal son. The local media was significantly less cordial. And this is only in St. Louis. And the calendar tells us this is but the middle of January.
Let us not forget that Ari Fleischer is the former Press Secretary of the President of the United States. The last one. Bush 43. Fleischer was the one who told us daily of the dangers of those invisible weapons of mass distraction. You remember where that whopper led us and left us? A couple of years later, voila "Mission Accomplished," was also his stroke of genius. What Mission? What was Accomplished? WMD's? Not exactly. "Mission Accomplished?" Don't think so.
Which brings us back to McGwire's first week out of solitary. Mission Accomplished? No sir. Sounds more like "Mission Just Underway." The 100-grand tab, or whatever it cost McGwire for this ham hocked strategy; does he have a money back guarantee? Let the buyer beware.
Memo to the BCS, another Fleischer client... based on some of his career highlights, Ari Fleischer may turn your event into a Sunday morning flag fooball tournament, all the while insisting everyone's going to love it. He will get you plenty of exposure. But, make sure you've got a money back guarantee.