Everyone's agog at Scott McClellan's blistering new reminisce if only because we don't usually associate the word "blistering" with President Bush's soft-spoken, loyal chief spokesman. The press accounts suggest that McClellan has accepted, more or less, the caricature of the White House under McClellan's regime as portrayed on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: propagandistic, disconnected from reality, dangerously insular, allergic to transparency. As memoirs go, this one ranks pretty high on the "Damn Them All" scale; candidly bathetic, self-aware, critical. It's not hagiographic in the Peggy Noonan style; we'll see if it meets Don Regan's standard for candor.
Compare it to George Stephanopoulos's memoir, All Too Human, although the dramatic arc of GS's tale began with promise and ended with promise-subordinated-to-promiscuity. The excerpts suggest that McClellan ascribes bad intentions (rather than all-too-human flaws) to a range of actors: Rove, Cheney, Rice; McClellan portrays the boss as befuddled and in over his head. (Is George W. Bush a stand-in for McClellan himself?)
Karl Rove, while "reserving my judgment on the greater book," insinuated that McClellan sounded like a liberal blogger, which, while descriptive, says nothing about the truth of the book. Rove said the charges that he lied to McClellan about the Plame affair "are just not true."
We all await Karl Rove's memoir. It will be the first (and only, to date) sustained defense of the intersection of policy and politics of the Bush Administration.
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