What’s with all the hand-wringing and brow-furrowing over why Scott McClellan turned on his former commander-in-chief? At the White House, they are saying they just don’t get it — how could he? who is he? According to McClellan himself, it’s all about “loyalty to the truth.”
It may be fun to ponder the deep muddy backwaters of the human psyche, but this one seems simple. By my reading, it’s the money. And lot$ of it. With his shark attack on the President, McClellan is right now making a great big fat bundle of money. He has a number one best-selling book, he’s going to be hot on TV shows from now until November… or at least until the next ex-insider takes a cue and cashes in. And imagine the movie rights. McClellan is quite likely making lots and lots more money with this political bodice ripper than if he had turned to anything else in his post-White House life except maybe a priesthood in the Al Gore Church of Carbon Offsets –and I doubt Gore was offering. (Though over at the American Thinker, there’s an interesting item noting McClellan’s newfound proximity to the ecosphere of tycoon George Soros).
We live in an age in which everything is supposed to be more subtle and complex than it seems, and maybe sometimes it is (see post below on how Kim Jong Il forever bilks America). But in this case, if you want clarity, skip the talk shows and dig up Daniel Defoe’s classic, Moll Flanders, published in 1722, the confessions of a woman who “during a Life of continu’d Variety” was “Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest, and dies a Penitent.” Moll could explain McClellan’s book. It was the money.
Whatever sense of principle or outraged betrayal or post-podium epiphany McClellan now seeks to convey on TV, he doesn’t sound like someone speaking with conviction about any of it. Here’s a link to his interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, transcribed under the headline “McClellan: I Became What I Wanted to Change” (you can say that again). ABC did us the favor of transcribing every syllable that dropped from McClellan’s lips, even the “uhs.” This is a man whose claim to fame is that for a short while he made a living as spokesman for the President of the United States. But suddenly –giving us one more reason to wonder why Bush ever had the appalling judgment to hire him in the first place — he’s having trouble saying anything at all. In this interview — if my count is accurate — along with many an “um,” McClellan says “uh” about 149 times. Try that. It’s not easy. And it’s not, uh, that, uh, interesting to, uh, wade through this, uh, interview, and my count of 149 may, uh, be off by an “uh” or two. But again, by my reading, this isn’t about the, uh, principle. It’s about the money.