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Wrath of McClellan
Question of the Day
“He’ll probably make a million dollars, more money than he’d ever have made in the White House. He’ll sell most of his books in the next six weeks. As President Bush becomes more irrelevant with the upcoming election, interest will die back, except among the Bush haters,” predicts Alfred S. Regnery, former president and publisher of Regnery Publishing, and current publisher of the American Spectator.
“He owes his entire career to President Bush,” Mr. Regnery said,
He also noted that Scott McClellan’s father - Barr McClellan - had come around to his office in 1999, shopping his own book about his days working as an attorney for former President Lyndon Johnson. The manuscript was rife with ancient, dark conspiracy theories about Mr. Johnson’s possible role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
“I looked it over. It was completely irresponsible. So now I wonder how far the apple fell from the tree,” Mr. Regnery said.
The trajectory of the book is on a predictable course, meanwhile. Potshots have been traded, schadenfreude exorcised. Rumors of a film deal have surfaced, which is not surprising. A few critics still quibble over details that sound like the movie of the week. Was the media evil, lazy, complicit with the White House? Was Scott McClellan more of a coward for betraying the president - or for waiting too long to blow the whistle?
He could be victor or victim, bombardier or collateral damage. After his original book proposal was leaked in the Politico last weekend, insiders pondered the notion that Mr. McClellan had originally intended to pen a treatise on the press rather than a White House hit job and was most likely steered leftward by his publisher, Peter Osnos, a Washington Post alumnus.
Mr. McClellan, meanwhile, remains in full virtuous mode.
“It’s tough when you take on the system. The system kind of fights back and engages in some personal attacks and misrepresentations of what’s in the book,” he told CBS this week, later adding, “It’s time to move beyond the destructive culture in Washington.”
But was Mr. McClellan at the heart of that culture, really just an ex-Bushie behaving badly?
“It depends on your perspective,” said etiquette consultant Anna Post, great-granddaughter of manners maven Emily Post and an analyst for Emily Post Institute in Vermont.
“One thing does emerge: This is not simple,” Ms. Post said. “Some argue that Scott McClellan was just being honest. Others are convinced his book truly hurt the president’s legacy. Personally, the situation has left me convinced that, despite everything that goes on, Americans continue to look to their leaders to be icons of good manners and of decency.”
A CAVALCADE OF INSULTS
Who knows? Maybe he’ll make a million dollars on his book and go on to minor fame as speaker, pundit or guest contestant on “Dancingwith the Stars.”
One thing’s for sure, though. Scott McClellan was this week’s whipping boy, inspiring insults of every persuasion.
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