WaPo: First Place to Go for the Spin You Need to Know


More, from Scott Wilson:

With the impending publication of a memoir that is critical of the president and some of his closest advisers, Gates has highlighted the risk Obama took by building a jostling, ambitious, big-intellect “team of rivals” to advise him.

The former defense secretary, a holdover from the Bush administration, has called into question Obama’s commitment to his Afghan war policy, criticized how political calculation influenced national security decisions and complained about the president’s distrust of the uniformed military command.

An exercise in therapeutic truth-telling, perhaps, but also rough and in some ways unexpected treatment from a former friend.


I have questions.

• Which is it — was Gates a rival or a friend?

• If he’s a former friend, what’s the big deal?

• Do tell-alls like this one really only happen when teams of rivals split?

• If not, then what’s the big deal?

This is one of those “analysis” pieces which bends over backwards to present Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom in the best possible light. The narrative presented here is that Wiggleroom was big enough to try assembling a team of rivals but then one of them — a Republican holdover from the Bush Administration, and a man who obviously distrusts government — turned against his former friend. But the good news, if you read down a bit further, is that the memoir will likely do the President “little lasting political damage.”

You know, like just about every other tell-all written in the last half century by disgruntled ex-cabinet members whom the Washington Press corps is eager to dismiss.


Now I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say how damning it is or how accurate it is or any of that. I hadn’t really considered picking up a copy, either. But a puff-piece like this one tells me it might just be worth a read after all.


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