McClellan getting bashed for speaking his mind, not Bush’s

Former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan is taking a lot of flak over assertions he makes in his newly released book, What Happened. There have been cries of surprise and dismay that he could be so critical of the administration he worked for.

Ari Fleischer, McClellan’s predecessor and former boss, said in an interview today on MSNBC that he was astonished — McClellan, a friend, had never told him he was concerned … McClellan had never raised objections to what was going on … this book doesn’t even sound like McClellan … and on and on. Does he mean he thinks someone else actually wrote the book? Quite possible. It’s common for ghost writers to pen books for people wanting to capitalize on their names. Not a crime. Was the book released now to help ensure a Democratic victory in November. Maybe. Also not a crime.

Reality check, please. When you want to keep your job, you don’t go around telling people you think your employers are propagandists and liars. You don’t dispute decisions your bosses are making. McClellan’s job was to speak for the administration and defend its actions and decisions, using whatever spin, whatever words the White House specified. It was not his job to stand at the podium during press conferences and tell reporters the president was using “propaganda” to justify going into Iraq. He’d have been fired immediately.

Frankly, McClellan never appeared comfortable as press secretary and often gave the impression of an earnest young man who’d gotten in over his head. He was never as deft and smooth as Fleischer in answering some questions while sidestepping others. He was clearly miserable trying to sell the White House line about the Cheney shooting accident.

Apparently, as press secretary, McClellan never indicated to anyone that he had concerns about the George Bush way of doing things. And that’s as it should be. Absolute loyalty to the boss, no matter what his private misgivings might have been. If he now publishes a book critical of the administration, that’s his prerogative. Unless he signed some sort of nondisclosure agreement when he took the White House post, he owes George Bush and his minions neither loyalty nor silence.

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2 thoughts on “McClellan getting bashed for speaking his mind, not Bush’s

  1. “he owes George Bush and his minions neither loyalty nor silence.”

    I agree wit h that. My only problem is if he came forward sooner it may have helped in the leak investigation and it may have changed the outcome of the election. Don’t you think the public had a right to know. Of course, some of this is his opinion, but at least out it out there. I don’t think he’s a liar, I think he’s being truthful. Do you remember when he bashed Paul O’Neal for writing a tell all book? If I find the video I’ll post it on my blog. It’s very interesting, the talking points he used on Paul are now being used on him.
    I haven’t read McClellan’s book and would have no way of knowing if it’s truthful, but if it isn’t, he could be sued for libel, assuming anyone in the administration really wants all that dirty laundry aired in court. As for the timing of the book’s release, I’d guess it was definitely calculated to affect the November elections. Don’t recall the O’Neal bash, but just saw one of Richard Clark. Sounded like McClellan was just doing his job as press secretary.

  2. As much as I dislike Mr. Bush, McClellan is a phony and a coward. If he had reservations about the Iraq thing, why didn’t he speak up earlier? He COULD HAVE SAVED countless American and Iraqi lives. The public would have put an end to Mr. Bush’s reign, just like what Watergate did to Nixon’s. If he had decided to put personal gains over truths, why come out now and slander Mr. Bush (rightly or wrongly)? Where is his sense of loyalty? If he is my employee, I would have punched him on the face. What a despicable human being!
    I can only speculate about McClellan’s motives and timing. Had I been in his position, I don’t know if I’d have kept my mouth shut in order to keep my job, or quit. It’s quite possible I’d have opted to keep my job, and only later, with a little perspective, figured out exactly what happened and how I felt about it. My loyalty would have been bought and paid for while I was press secretary, but not after I left the position.

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