Washington is a place utterly without loyalty. It has gotten worse every year since I have been here. Poor President George W. Bush. Loyal to a fault. His reward? To be trashed by the likes of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Did McClellan have an axe to grind or was he just trying to set the record straight? He now fancies himself as a historian.
McClellan never was in the inner circle at the White House. He was, to be honest about it, way over his head. He resigned - was forced to resign? - when Tony Snow was brought in to handle that office. Many pundits believed he was forced to resign because of the Valerie Plame issue and the handling of Hurricane Katrina relief. Regardless of the circumstances, there is little doubt that he is bitter about it and has taken shots at those he regards as having been responsible for doing him in. Hence, the gratuitous attacks on Karl Rove, for example. His technique is interesting. He says what the media already believes; therefore, the media will assist him mightily in selling his book. As radio commentator Chris Plante noted, the so-called mainstream media will carry him forward on its shoulders until it is through with him, at which point it will throw him under the bus, as it has done with all of those who have been disloyal to Bush.
Those who worked with McClellan said he never uttered one word of objection to all the positions he now claims are so reprehensible. If he had had any integrity he would have raised his voice while on the job and if he failed to make any headway he would have resigned. Oh, no. That isn't how it is done these days. Instead one appears loyal. One raises no objection and then one goes off and writes a tell-all book. McClellan never said that Bush lied to the American public but the media is extrapolating that from what he did say, which is that Bush didn't ask tough questions. I have heard at least half a dozen versions of what McClellan supposedly said, none of which was exactly what he did say. This just gives the pious commentators more than they ever could have hoped for. And this in the midst of a Presidential campaign.
I came from a different era. If you went to work for someone you did not leak secrets to the media. You were discreet. Presumably you believed in what the person for whom you went to work stood for.
I recall in the six years I worked for the late Senator Gordon L. Allott (R-CO) twice when I completely disagreed with what he said I told him so. He was very gracious about it. He sort of debated me on the subjects in contention. I was satisfied that he had good reason to vote as he did, even though I still disagreed with him. It was not so serious that I considered resigning. I was a loyal soldier in the Allott office. Everyone else who worked there was as well. Were he in the Senate today and he had a staffer who completely disagreed with him we would be reading about it in the New York Times. Then that staffer would collect material and would write a book suggesting some sort of scandal. It is happening to even the best of our legislators.
I don't know how we are going to continue to get good people to run for office under these circumstances. As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Don't get me wrong. President Bush should be open to criticism like everyone else. I did not favor this war either. But I didn't hold a press conference on the subject. I wrote the President a letter and discussed my views with some of his people. Once we were there I felt the President had to be supported. There is a way to handle dissent decently. But that era has passed.
I hope McClellan is proud of what he did. I hope he understands how he is being used by the Bush bashers. I hope he understands that his fame will be short-lived. He will have had his few minutes of fame. The day will come when he will be regarded by the same media which now lionizes him as utterly contemptible. The media will use him but it will recognize someone who is using it as well. One day long ago this must have been a nice place to work.