Friday, May 30, 2008

Spilling the beans

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's book is getting a lot of attention -- and for good reason. After all, it isn't often a West Winger spills the beans while the administration for which he worked is still in power.

So, from a historical and journalistic standpoint, McClellan has offered a powerful insider's perspective of President Bush and his top people and their strategies.

But I'm not ready to pat McClellan on the back.

When you're part of an inner circle -- at the White House, in a corporate board room, at a newspaper, a college ... you name the institution - those around you expect nothing less than loyalty and confidentiality, during and after the time you've served.

McClellan knew that when he signed on to be Bush's press secretary. McClellan was aware he'd be the spokesman for the president, perhaps often having to toe a company line with which he disagreed. That's what press secretaries do.

McClellan, who also worked for Bush at the Texas state house, says he likes and respected the president, so he trusted him. Eventually, he says, he became "increasingly dismayed and disillusioned." Many, many Americans know the feeling and it's been reflected in Bush's low approval ratings.

But McClellan was an aide and a confidante. He should have kept his misgivings to himself.

History thanks you, Mr. McClellan. But I wonder how many future confidential jobs you've forfeited as a result of this breach of trust.
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