How angry did Bob Dole get over Scott McClellan’s new, dishy memoir of his days in the White House? Dole forgot to use the third person, that’s how angry. Politico’s Jonathan Martin intercepts an e-mail missive that redefines “flame”:
“There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. “No, your 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.” …
“In my nearly 36 years of public service I’ve known of a few like you,” Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. “No doubt you will ‘clean up’ as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, ‘Biting The Hand That Fed Me.’ Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years[.]”
Bob Dole isn’t known as a knee-jerk defender of this administration, which makes this out-of-center-field slam all the more significant. Later in the message, Dole accuses McClellan of cowardice and a lack of integrity, noting that the former press secretary had two years to speak up about his concerns, and three years in his position before that to make his feelings known. It’s a roasting that recalls the temperament that flashed during the 1976 campaign against Carter and Mondale.
For my part, I don’t consider McClellan worth the effort. Press secretaries attend meetings after policy gets made, not during it. McClellan simply isn’t enough of a historical figure to warrant the attention. I’ll wait for other memoirs and then calculate McClellan’s worth.