Watch it, Scott McClellan – you don’t mess with Bob Dole:
In the e-mail, Dole basically describes the former White House press secretary as a traitor looking to cash in on the “liberal” media’s distaste for President Bush.
“There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” the five-term Kansas senator wrote to McClellan. “No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.”
And this story suggests McClellan couldn’t help but betray Bush — after all, he came from traitorous stock.
But the more I think about this, the less I think he wrote it out of petty revenge for being fired. The book’s title says a lot: What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washingtonâ€™s Culture of Deception. I think McClellan has three goals here. First, he wants to warn the American people about the real quagmire we’re facing — no, not Iraq, but Washington DC itself. It’s a snakepit, a fever-swamp of illusion and bluff addicted to power, getting it and keeping it. As ugly as it can be, it’s overwhelmingly seductive. Good men with good intentions can be warped out of recognizability here.
And that leads to goal number two: to explain to himself, the world, and to George W. Bush what happened to a good man with good intentions inside the District of Corruption. McClellan had served Bush back in Texas, and grew increasingly uneasy with the allure unlimited power holds for some men and the depravity it can lead them to. He saw what he believed to be a decent man get swept away by that greatest of temptations after 9/11, which led Bush to launch a wave of destruction on an innocent nation, then try to cover it up with what McClellan called “obfuscation” and “propaganda.” After the Plame scandal, McClellan could take no more.
Finally, I think he’s trying to warn us not to let another cycle of hyped and cropped data lead to another unnecessary war in Iran. Bush, desperate to leave a legacy as a successful war president, may see a surgical strike on Iran as his last chance to knock out a threat to Israel and US hegemony in the Middle East. McClellan, apparently no blinkered ideologue, now realizes how power and ideology can blind one to unforseen consequences — and even blind some men to forseeable consequences. Guilty of helping justify one wrongful aggression, McClellan couldn’t sit back and let another one lead us to an even more horrible level of destruction and future problems.