In a scathing memoir due to be published next week, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan accuses President George H.W. Bush of being out of touch, misled, and taking a propaganda approach to issues that would have been better served by candor and openness.
The memoir, entitled ‘What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception’ is set to come out next week. An advance copy was secured by Politico.com and disclosures about the book appeared in an article on the site written by Mike Allen.
In his article, Allen states the following:
• ‘McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.
• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.
• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”
• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.
• McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.
None of these revelations are surprising to anyone who has paid attention to the activities of the Bush administration for the past seven years. For instance, the allegation purportedly contained in McClellan’s book that Bush relied on ‘propaganda’ to sell the Iraq war to the people of the United States is not news for anyone who has read the now infamous ‘Downing Street memo’ in its entirety.
And the allegation that Karl Rove and former Vice Presidential I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby conferred to get their stories straight with respect to leaking the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame is totally believable. Nothing is more natural than seeking to cover one’s hind quarters when you start to feel a cold breeze.
And of course McClellan, who had been a close Bush aide from 1999-2006, now admits he was ‘badly misled.’ And by being responsible for press briefings, he ‘badly misled’ the media; the media he says was ‘too easy’ on the administration during the period up to the Iraq war.
One of the more interesting assertions in the book, according to McClellan, is that President Bush was also often misled. Perhaps so, but there are also those who believe Hitler was unaware of the Holocaust.
It would have been nice had McClellan chosen an earlier time to bless the public with his openness. But let’s hope that the book is an eye-opener for anyone who remains unconvinced that any connection between the Bush administration, truth and democracy is purely coincidental.