Over at the Daily Beast, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan reviewd Oliver Stone’s new Bush documentary, “W.” He attended the same screening as I, as a matter of fact. I was interested to see how his review matches up with mine.
First off: if you’re looking for any real insight into the Bush administration, you won’t find it from McClellan. He deals in the same vague generalities as anyone who has followed the presidency from the outside. “Getting inside someone’s head is not easy, even more so when it involves a member of the protective Bush clan. … Nevertheless, I think it would be wrong to discount the relationship as insignificant,” writes McClellan. Wow. You’re telling me that a son’s relationship with his father is more than “insignificant”? That is a breathtaking insight, Mr. McClellan. Please, continue!
“The movie also depicts W as politically astute and calculating, thanks largely to the help of his ever-present political mentor Karl Rove (Toby Jones),” Mr. McClellan continues. “In the movie, Bush’s every move has underlying political motives.” A politician thinking about how to rack up votes? NO! I refuse to believe it!
Then there’s this awkwardly worded sentence: “Even if [Stone] misses the mark at times, he deserves credit for the glimpses of inner truth he provides, which can only be instructive, especially as we prepare to elect a new president.” This sentence was preceded by three paragraphs in which McClellan lists the out-and-out lies (as opposed to the minor fabrications that litter the picture) present in Mr. Stone’s biopic. Allow me to rephrase it: “Sure, Mr. Stone’s picture is verifiably false, but in those falsehoods maybe we can pick up lessons about how to vote in 2008. Or you can buy my book trashing the president. Either way is good.”
I would suggest Mr. McClellan stick to his day job and leave criticism to the professionals, but he’s made a fair amount of money by dishing dirt on the president. This probably qualifies as more of the same.