Friday, May 30, 2008

Matalin and Carville both excoriate Scott McClellan

In response to a question at a conference in Boston last night, Mary Matalin and James Carville took turns eviscerating Scott McClellan and his new book.

As a publisher, Matalin said she had turned down McClellan's book because it was "incredibly boring." Other mainstream publishers also nixed it.

It wasn't until one of George Soros' favorite publishers -- affiliated with The Nation magazine -- decided to work "very closely" with McClellan that the book came into being.

In light of that relationship, Matalin called attention to McClellan's introduction, noting the almost miraculous changes to the narrative.

Writing it wasn’t easy. Some of the best advice I received as I began came from a senior editor at a publishing house that expressed interest in my book. He said the hardest challenge for me would be to keep questioning my own beliefs and perceptions throughout the writing process. His advice was prescient. I’ve found myself continually questioning my own thinking, my assumptions, my interpretations of events. Many of the conclusions I’ve reached are quite different from those I would have embraced at the start of the process. The quest for truth has been a struggle for me, but a rewarding one. I don’t claim a monopoly on truth. But after wrestling with my experiences over the past several months, I’ve come much closer to my truth than ever before.

[Emphasis in original.]

I'll call particular attention to the statement "[many] of the conclusions I’ve reached are quite different from those I would have embraced at the start of the process."

Matalin noted that in two years of attending meetings with McClellan he contributed absolutely nothing -- implying that he was truly an empty suit. Writing at the National Review, Peter Wehner echoed that thought.

...what appears to be Scott’s existential journey has led him to make sweeping and reckless allegations that are at odds with reality. He would have us believe that the Bush administration was, at bottom, massively and deeply deceitful and corrupt — but this has only dawned on Scott since he started writing his book, years after the fact. Let’s just say that for these revelations to spring forth as if truth were like a time-released capsule, in which things magically get clearer with the passage of time (and the signing of book contracts), is, well, suspicious. And my former colleagues are absolutely right to point out that Scott not only never raised any objections contemporaneously, in meetings or with his superiors; in fact, he said almost nothing at all, at any time, about anything of consequence.

Remember that Bill Clinton called Bill Richardson a "Judas", Matalin asked. This is "worse than Judas" and stated that McClellan "sold his soul" (to the devil, or Soros, take your pick).

Carville got into the act as well. With Cajun disgust dripping in his voice, Carville said it was "incredibly disloyal. You work for the president. You don't do these things."

When Carville and Matalin both agree that you're a disloyal empty suit, it's pretty safe to assume they're on the money.

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