Last week, in response to Scott McClellan’s explosive memoir, former senator Bob Dole sent a vitriolic personal e-mail to McClellan, calling him a “miserable creature.” “[Y]our type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique,” Dole charged.
On CBS’s Early Show today, McClellan responded to Dole’s and the right wing’s attacks on him. McClellan shrugged them off, saying the attacks were “personal” diatribes that still did not refute the “key themes” of the book:
McCLELLAN: These are some unpleasant truths and hard realities that I’m trying to address in the book. And no one is really refuting the key themes and perspectives in the book. What they are doing is taking some of these personal attacks and misrepresentations and trying to shift this focus away from what this book talks about. I think it’s important to get it back on the larger message in the book.
Indeed, it’s difficult to find a right-wing personality directly taking issue with the substance of McClellan’s book. For example, former White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy writes today, “Please forgive me, Scott, if this sounds personal, but you’ve just filleted me and everyone who worked with you.” “I mean my lack of interest in Scott McClellan’s personal odyssey of self-discovery is a negative,” said Newt Gingrich.
Whether McClellan’s charges have some truth to them is left unaddressed by these ad hominem attacks. “The ink [the book] generates isn’t doing much to distract the American public from the overarching narrative that McClellan’s book is a part of: Unpopular president, unpopular war, dispirited party,” notes Ana Marie Cox.