Carol Platt Liebau: The Death of Shame

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Death of Shame

Scott McClellan should be ashamed. The former White House press secretary, hawking a new book, now says that the president knowingly allowed him to pass on false information.

As the linked piece itself points out, McClellan himself has denied this was the case, on CNN. But now there's a book to sell, and controversial allegations like this move the presses, presumably.

There's something unsavory about the entire exterprise. After all, McClellan's importance derives only from the job that was given to him by those upon whom he has now turned. And if his sensibilities were so jolted by the supposed deception, he was free to resign at the time -- but he didn't.

The whole genre of kiss-and-tell books put out by onetime staffers during the course of the current administration is pretty despicable. It was bad when Clinton Administration staffers did it, too -- but then again, no one has ever accused the Clintons of being loyal to those who work for them. The Bush Administration is . . . and deserves better than a self-serving money grab by former staffers like McClellan and Matthew Dowd too, for that matter.

Certainly, people are entitled to their point of view -- and to unburden their consciences, if that's what they feel compelled upon to do. But when there's no real whistleblowing -- just kiss and tell disparagement of erstwhile friends -- to me, it reflects more poorly on those doing the talking than on those whom they criticize.

Update: McClellan's publisher is rushing to clarify that McClellan isn't asserting that Bush lied to him. Fine. But with the excerpts that have already been released, it's worth asking whether that's because there's a principled desire to set the record straight -- or a belated recognition that the earlier "scoop" would alienate conservative bookbuyers who would otherwise be one of the tome's primary markets.


Blogger stackja1945 said...

Carol, McClellan seems to be acting like another McClellan of the past. That McClellan of course had an argument with Lincoln. McClellan seems to be showing why he is no longer on the White House staff.

6:06 PM  
Blogger carlos said...

Second paragraph:

"There's something unsavory about the entire exterprise."

Should be "enterprise". Correct?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Joe Steel said...

The trouble with conspiracies is the inevitability of exposure -- eventually someone talks. Bush apologists should accept it.

3:37 AM  
Blogger JohnnyT. said...

When I read this news story I was sickened, too. After reading the whole story on Yahoo news I got the distinct feeling it was an attention grabbing headline that McClellan would clarify in his book. And that turns my stomach,too. These are real life actors and liars, and McClellan is blurring the lines.
What you say about him being able to resign is apropos, an honoroble man would have resigned right then and there. McClellan has dishonored himself and his book need not be read. Taking a good paying job that is also a service to your country and then using that to enrich yourself is a very low form of life. Almost as if that was his original intent when he began that job.
It's too bad too many people will let the ends justify the means in their pursuit of riches.

7:13 AM  

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