RELEASE THE MEMOIRS!… There was a hint last November that Scott McClellan’s memoir was going to be unrelenting on George Bush, Karl Rove and the gang, but that was quickly dismissed as overhyped. The book is now on the verge of being released, and in fact was on sale over the weekend at D.C.-area bookstores. So Mike Allen picked up a copy, and the revelations appear to be as originally advertised:
Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” (Public Affairs, $27.95):
McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.
He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.
He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”
The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them – and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.
McClellan asserts that the aides – Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice presidentâ€™s chief of staff – “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plameâ€™s identity.
This could be cherry-picking as well for the sake of selling some hardcovers. But that’s not a phenomenon that will be limited to Scott McClellan (and who knew he had this in him, huh?). The spate of memoirs that always roll out near the end of an Administration will take on an even greater “every-man-for-himself” quality in this one. From the lowest-level staffer to his personal food-taster, Bush will see half of his underlings or more trash him to every publisher in the country. If someone like McClellan, who was at Bush’s side from the Texas days, is willing to go nuclear to preserve his own reputation, it’ll be a free-for-all.