Is Scott McClellan A Judas?

Dennis Prager says Scott McClellan’s new memoir about his years working as a press secretary for President Bush raises a character issue. "That is very rare for me [to criticize the man rather than the act].

Prager: "I have sympathy for James Carville’s remark that there was a Judas-like act by Bill Richardson [in jettisoning the Clintons]. Bill Richardson is not an impressive man. I have never heard anything profound come from him. He was made by the Clintons. When people do that, and unless they become evil, there is something called loyalty. It is a value. It is not loyalty uber alles. It is not loyalty over morality. The Clintons are not Charles Manson.

"I find this to be a sign of our times where personal character mean nothing. Politics uber alles, making a splash in the news uber alles."

"Scott McClellan, nobody would know of him were he not given the position of press secretary at the White House. That there is nothing important here, that it was done overwhelmingly for money and attention, was the timing. If it is significant, it doesn’t matter when it is published. That it was published now suggests that the overriding concern of Scott McClellan was publicity and money.

"Wouldn’t you agree that if it was published after Bush left it would have more credibility?"

"Scott McClellan flunked the character test. Barack Obama did not with Reverend Wight. He said he could no more disown Rev. Wight than disown his grandmother. i had a problem with the equating of his grandmother, a wonderful woman, with a racist fool, Rev. Wight."

"It is interesting when people who knew a person than say, ‘This is not the person we knew.’ Did they know him? Why was he chosen? There is a body of Republicans who do not know what they stand for, such as John Sununu, who recommended David Souter to George Bush I for the Supreme Court."

"It is shocking. There’s nothing quite as disorienting as feeling you knew somebody and then it turns out you didn’t."

"I have read every excerpt of this new book that I can get my hands on and there’s nothing new there. There’s no news. That’s why people say it’s like a blog. Is there a single revelation in the book? No, there’s just a man crapping on President Bush."

A caller asks Prager why do all these ex-members of the White House (Colin Powell, Scott McClellan, Richard Clarke) who crap on Bush. Maybe Bush is a guy who can’t admit when he is wrong and cherrypicks?

With the way Prager values loyalty, it is no wonder he has more friends than I do.

My evaluation of the McClellan book is different. Sometimes truth is more important than loyalty. If McClellan’s truths are valuable, then he’s done a public service in publishing the book. Why publish it now? Because it is more timely. It will have more impact. If McClellan has important insights (I have not read the book nor do I intend to), then that can add to the public discussion of the Bush administration.

To me the morality of McClellan’s book depends upon its value. If it is a good book, then it is worth the disloyalty to his former employer.

I guess loyalty is not one of my strengths. My primary allegiance is to telling the truth (I’m not always up to this task, but that does not mean I feel free from attempting it daily). That’s what I do best. I don’t want to be a foot soldier in anyone’s army.

On the other hand, I do feel loyalty to anybody who has employed me. I don’t think I’ve ever trashed an employer on my blog. I don’t think I’ve revealed workplace secrets. With few and only oblique exceptions, I’ve not written about women I’ve been intimate with without their permission. I’ve had many precious friendships that I would not write about.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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