Saturday, May 31, 2008

Intellectually Incurious

There is a big political flap underway in the United States over a book called What Happened. It is a memoir of his days in the Whitehouse by former Press Secretary, Scott McLellan.

McLellan was an associate of George Bush when Bush was the Governor of Texas and he followed him to Washington. He was the second PS and fulfilled that role for a few years until he was replaced. I haven’t learned why he lost the job, but the impression left in the media is that it was not a voluntary departure.

I always chuckled at the name of his replacement, Tony Snow (who has since left the job for health reasons). I thought if gave new meaning to the term “snow job”.

Anyway, McLellan has turned on the Bush administration and made accusations about its rush to war, its ignoring intelligence pointing to another conclusion, and Rove and Scooter Libby outing Valerie Plame. This is hardly news. The public has already heard this stuff and made up its mind about it, so other than the novelty of a Bush insider rebuking him, which also is not news; e.g. Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke, I cannot see why I would be interested in reading this book and why there is such a firestorm about it.

McLellan did savage Condoleeza Rice in the book, claiming she was too clever by half in hiding in cracks and crevices when the fickle finger of fate pointed around the room. But the media interest is not really focused on what he has to say about her, it is about the other characters in the administration.

The one thing I thought was an excellent example of the practice of his art as a wordsmith was his description of George Bush. He doesn’t call him stupid; he calls him “intellectually incurious”. That is a classic.

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