From the Left, the Right, and a number of Scott McClellan’s former colleagues we have agreement: if you’re going to betray your former employer, it is best to have been more capable yourself and to have spoken out when there was not a book deal at issue. Perhaps the most telling comment comes from David Gregory, one of McClellan’s chief antagonists, who finds it hard to believe that McClellan was even in the loop. (I am confident that, in a secret ballot election by the White House press corps, McClellan wouldn’t win any votes for the “most knowledgeable and connected press secretary in our time.”)
Despite the diverse criticism of McClellan, it appears that much of the news media (the same crowd that thought McClellan an ineffective bumbler at the time) is infatuated with the story because it is another excuse to trot out the “Bush lied, people died” mantra. (There is an occasional note of skepticism, and even a willingness to recite McClellan’s own words castigating Richard Clarke for his similar tell-all indictment.) And surely if the issue for the election in November is “Should George W. Bush get a third term?”, it’s curtains for the GOP. But the McCain team is trying its best to make the election about Barack Obama’s experience, knowledge, and judgment. And they have had some success in getting the media to focus on how much Obama knows and how ready he is to be commander-in-chief. We have seen lately that when Obama talks about his own positions on issues or his own version of reality, things can get rather dicey. So no doubt his media cheerleaders would be delighted to go back to talking about McClellan’s book.