Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scott McClellan: The David Stockman of the Bush White House?

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary from 2003 through 2006, is splashing around in the media waves these days, holding out his new book for the sharks who think they smell blood spilling from the Bush White House. Undoubtedly McClellan is counting on sales of his turncoat "confession" to bring in enough cash to make up for his years on a government salary.

McClellan, who just turned forty, reminds me of another youngster who served in the White House and thought himself wiser than his elder President and decided to tell the world about it: David Stockman, President Reagan's first budget director. Beginning with the now-infamous Atlantic Monthly article, "The Education of David Stockman", the liberal media touted the thirty-something Stockman as the ultimate Reagan White House insider who supposedly came clean on everything that was wrong with Reagan's economic policies.

But we all know how the Stockman v. Reagan match-up ended. Reagan is now viewed as one of the nation's greatest presidents and the architect of one of the longest eras of economic expansion in the country's history and Stockman, well . . . After suffering in obscurity for many years (a risk when one gains fame early, then burns bridges to friends who helped get you there), Stockman made the news again last year when he was indicted in a $1.6 billion fraud case involving his company. The now sixty-something Stockman was accused by the U.S. Attorney of having "resorted to lies, tricks, and fraud."

This is not to say Scott McClellan will meet a like fate, or will be accused of similar activities as David Stockman, but the Stockman saga suggests skepticism should be in order for a tell-all memoir from a sanctimonious former White House whippersnapper. It may not be the end of the story for the subject being discussed or the young writer.

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