By Alan Caruba
It’s not likely that former Bush press secretary, Scott McClellan, is going to find any work in Washington, D.C. in the wake of his “tell all” book about his years in the White House job.
People tend to forget that his predecessor, Ari Fleischer, wrote a book about the same job and came away with a more positive impression of his co-workers. The reason that Fleischer’s book did not attract the kind of attention that McClellan’s is getting is that Fleischer did not throw the left-leaning press corps any raw meat by asserting the utter evil of the Bush administration.
McClellan is your typical disgruntled former employee, a backstabber that has to make everyone around him look bad in order to cover up his own incompetence. He better hope enough Bush-haters and knee-jerk liberals buy his book because it may be a while before a good job offer comes along.
It’s likely McClellan was fired and for good reason. I recall watching the Pillsbury Doughboy during his daily press briefings and, as a former journalist, I recall thinking he was way out his league with the sharks in that room. I even began to think they were going easy on him for fear that he might burst into tears or wet his pants.
You may recall who replaced him. It was Tony Snow. Snow arrived on the job with impeccable journalism credentials and was both respected and liked by his colleagues, albeit adversaries, despite their quest for an answer to some question that fit their particular agendas.
On MSNBC’s nightly “Hard Ball”, David Gregory, one of the most aggressive reporters in the White House press room during the tenure of Fleischer, McClellan, and Snow, lamented that in the run-up to the second Iraq war he and his colleagues did not do enough to dispute the justifications being made for it by the White House. In hindsight, Gregory said the press corps was “manipulated.”
This is a major cop-out, not unlike McClellan’s assertion that he was not in the loop inside the White House. In hindsight, not telling McClellan anything he would later blab all over town to make himself look good was probably a good idea. As it is, his recollections of what occurred are significantly out of synch with others who served at the same time.
There is no question that the White House orchestrated its case for going to war, just as there is no question that Rumsfeld made one horrendously bad decision after another until Bush could finally push him out of his job as Secretary of Defense. I cannot wait to read his memoirs! His press conferences were love fests and, for a time, Rumsfeld was being touted as the nation’s sexiest senior citizen.
Scott McClellan is going to be one very brief asterisk when the history of the Bush administration is written. I’m betting he will end up in some Texas public relations firm writing news releases about the opening of a new boutique in Dallas.