Saturday, May 31, 2008

Scott McClellan's book

A comment I made on Angry Bear:
I can't believe how many people have deigned to criticize the book without having read it (and worse, without intending to read it).

Now, I will do the same: McClellan's job was not to be non-partisan. His job is to be the mouthpiece of the President and his administration. They tell him what their policies, opinions and tone should be and he goes out and says it. So we can't criticize him for failing to ferret out inconsistencies in his employers' statements. And as long as he truly believes that he's being told the truth, and that he himself is telling the truth, he is on solid moral ground.

Also, he did quit. Maybe it says exactly why in the book, I'll read it and find out. But you don't leave a job for no reason- maybe he was starting to feel dissatisfied with the climate in the White House.

You have to cut him some slack- when you are ensconced in a job like that, it becomes difficult to maintain pure objectivity. The Stockholm effect, if you will.

So now he leaves the job and has time to reflect and analyze his time there. And sometimes when you do that, pieces start to fall into place. Maybe he reads some other guy's book or interview that fills in a missing piece. You get that "ah ha" moment- "so *that's* what that meeting was about!" And it becomes clear that what you believed at the time to be the truth was in fact, not.

I think the important lesson of this book is the furthering of the central tragedy of the Bush White House: that Bush isn't all that bad of a guy, and that his failing is that he trusts people too much. I think history will show that he was a pawn. He wanted the full spectrum of information to make decisions from, and his people only gave him what they wanted. And his failure was in trusting them too much and not seeking counsel outside the circle.


(I can't wait for Rumsfeld's book. I hope he's writing one. I think that will be a masterpiece- I think he was one of the lynchpins of the various forces in the government. Remember when he was hired? His mission was to rebuild the DoD. Not fight a war. Or at least, not this war at that time. And nobody can say he's not a smart guy- I bet after he does some similar rethinking, he will be able to put the whole thing together.)

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