I've been a follower of Terry Hunt for a long time. Today he's moved an article about Scott McClellan tand his forth-coming book "What
Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's
Culture of Deception." hat is a little better than the tabloid TV fare of earlier in the cycle. He digs a little deeper and writes a lot less sensational than the reports earlier in the day. So what does all of this mean?
The official story today out of the White House is that they are puzzled about his actions. As some one whose watched the political scene nationally and locally for a good many years, I have to say my first impression of the day was, that this was a huge betrayal of trust in one he'd worked for. At the end of the day, that remains my first feeling. It was a betrayal. A large one, one where he stands to gain financially for what he's said or alleged.
Since the release of The War Room in 1992/3, as Americans we've known that organized messaging is a HUGE part of the political process. It's managed messaging.
If you must have a scapegoat for this phenomena, look no further than 24-hour cable. Then look to the Internet. Then look to up-to-the-minute news reporting. And then look to the creation of blogging.
I'm saddened by Scott McClellan's choice of actions to publish this book. I'm sure the president is highly disappointed.
If you look back in history, however, this isn't the first time a highly visible person named McClellan has disappointed his president. Look back to Gen. George McClellan who was a master in preparing and training for war, he just couldn't execute. At one point, President Lincoln was quoted as saying that he wondered if McClellan would mind if he "borrowed the Army" for fighting. McClellan was an out-spoken critic of the president after he was relieved of his command. Gen. Grant after the war said McClellan remained "one of the mysteries of the war."
But is this such a mystery? I don't know Scott McClellan and odds are that I won't ever. But we have created such a nasty machine in politics that it can be hard when good people get in the middle of it and don't have the stomach for it. And trust me, I know how eventually the pressures from working inside a tempest can eventually get to you. Just google me and see all the stuff I had to deal with for five years as a spokesperson in Dallas. It's not easy work. Your life is that of the system you serve.
Where we break ranks is putting to paper the stuff you dealt with internally. That's where the line of credibility is drawn and if it's crossed, one can never go back.