Scott McClellan’s new book, What Happened, is about some of the more embarrassing and sensitive inner happenings of the George H.W. Bush presidency while Mr. McClellan held the position as the White House press secretary. Mr. McClellan served in this role for a little more than two and a half years from July 19, 2003 through April 26, 2006. It has been two years since Mr. McClellan resigned from his post in Mr. Bush’s presidency. And his new book has quickly caught the attention of the various political and entertainment machines.
There is a lot of speculation about Mr. McClellan’s motivation for picking right now to release his book. Didn’t he know there was a presidential race going on at the moment? Then again, the way American politics work, there’s always a presidential race in progress. Regardless, the current presidential race, quickly winding down to a two man contest, is ideal timing for this particular read.
A CNN article has described Mr. McClellan as “dismayed and disillusioned” about the incidents involving the clandestine release of classified information outing Valerie Plame, the fact that President Bush had secretly declassified a report on Iraq so Vice President Dick Cheney and “Scooter” Libby could disclose the information to reporters, and quoted Mr. McClellan the day after his memoir hit bookstore shelves as saying, “We had been out there talking about how seriously the President took the leaking of classified information, and here we were learning that the President had authorized the very same that we were criticizing.”
Mr. McClellan also said that the White House manipulated intelligence in the run-up to the war to in order to make the invasion of Iraq the only inevitable conclusion. “One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency,” he wrote. “Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term.”
He described the aftermath to hurricane Katrina, arguably one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history was one of the biggest disasters of the Bush administration as it failed miserably to protect and defend American citizens. The Bush administration was mired in propaganda and political spin and fabricated an altered truth. Sounds like typical political bullshit if you ask me. Mr. McClellan’s book tells us nothing we didn’t already know if we only cared to look and to pay attention to what was going on at the time. But Mr. McClellan says that he was so naïve that he actually believed Karl Rove and Mr. Libby. He actually believed that the President wanted to help the people in New Orleans. And this is Mr. McClellan’s way of setting the record straight at $27.95 a copy.
Nevertheless, current and former Bush administration officials have circled the wagons and have roundly refuted the Mr. McClellan’s claims. A senior administration official not authorized to speak about the book or on behalf of the White House said, “Scott McClellan’s assertions about the administration’s decision to go into Iraq are just flat-out wrong and not supported by the facts.” But the facts are that this President has routinely and intentionally misled the public on a variety of subjects and has little credibility. A look back on this administration’s record would make a snake oil salesman scratch his head and say “god damn”.
Current White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said of the release of McClellan’s memoirs, “Scott is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew.”
Former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend said advisers to the President should speak up when they have policy concerns. Mr. Townsend said, “Scott never did that on any of these issues as best I can remember or as best as I know from any of my White House colleagues. For him to do this now strikes me as self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional.”
Former White House adviser Karl Rove said on the FOX News network that the excerpts from the book make Mr. McClellan sound like a left wing blogger rather than his former colleague.
But one thing none of these people said was that the details Mr. McClellan spells out in What Happened are untrue or incorrect. The comments are little more than attacks against his character as someone who is sad, disgruntled, or inappropriate. He is now depicted as a leftist. But if you read in between the proverbial lines, it sounds like Mr. McClellan might be a left wing blogger who just so happens to be telling the truth.
What we have here is a number of Bush administration personnel practicing their own version of the no snitch policy followed by various police agencies, military units, government agencies, corporate insiders, Girl Scout troops, but made famous by the insistence that the black community is hampering police investigations. Mr. McClellan provides us with a first hand look at what happens when someone in the Washington inner circle has the audacity to expose the truth about executive branch incompetence and politically skewed bias at the expense of the nation’s welfare. The problems are not the latest version of the incompetence or misdoings of the President’s administration. The problem is that someone on the inside has betrayed the secrecy of the incompetence and misdoings.
What will Mr. McClellan have for his troubles? He is now on the outs of any future with any Republican administration. If Mr. McClellan wants any influence in the District of Columbia he had better hope for a Democratic win in November. But then again, now that he sees first hand the length these people who seek all this political power will go to maintain their control at the expense of the people, why would he want to stay connected to such a self serving and narcissistic system of influence?
Former White House counter terrorism chief turned Bush administration critic Richard Clarke said that the reaction to Mr. McClellan’s book has a familiar ring to it. Said Mr. Clarke, “They’re saying some of the exact same things about McClellan they said about me. I think the difference with McClellan’s book is he’s now telling us something we all know, that the war with Iraq was a disastrous war [and] was sold with deception. It’s a little different when you say something as I did and a few other people did four or five years ago, when the war was popular and when we were unpopular for saying what we said.”