You have to give Scott McClellan credit. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and publicly announce that you were wrong
. Now, obviously, Scott has not directly said he was wrong. But Scott is a well-trained press secretary. He knows that his message will be seen implicitly as stating he was wrong. Most of the electorate in our country will see that and internalize his admission.
The benefit of Scott's book is that he is setting an example. One of the cornerstones of recovery, or sobriety, as well as an integral part of Catholicism, is the concept of confession. Now, the manner of that confession might be argued, with some claiming confession should be personal and private, while others are okay with public confessions.
In Scotty's case, a public confession appears appropriate. Mostly because the topic of his confession were the lies and manipulation he conveyed for the administration to the public. But even more to the point, his current actions give courage to others to acknowledge their experience of being pressured by the administration and corporate executives prior to our invasion of Iraq.
Already a highly visible journalist, Jessica Yellin, and a legacy media anchor, Katie Couric, have come forth, as Glenn Greenwald so amply noted at Salon
. And then there's Michael Turk's message posted at Twitter
Now, a lot of people are questioning Scott's motive for his disclosure at this time. However, his motive is not the issue. What is important is the unintended consequences of his book. Or maybe not so unintended consequences. Regardless of Scott's monetary gain with the release of this book it appears to be a public display of personal introspection; a process that hopefully Scott's example indicates has begun in our nation and will spur others to mirror.
Perhaps the collective visceral shock our nation experienced after September 11, 2001 has finally cleared and we are now recognizing the consequences of the Bush administration's knee-jerk reaction. Often, after a great shock, people have a tendency to lash out in an effort to protect themselves from further hurt. Unfortunately, that means those people who normally are our support and comfort are driven away. And when we finally see that consequence, are aware of its damaging effects, it's still difficult to acknowledge -- both to ourselves and to those important in our lives -- our behavior.
Whereas Paul O'Neill
and Richard Clarke
did come out with books criticizing the Bush administration they never acknowledged or admitted any personal mistakes. Yes, Richard Clarke did apologize to the families of the victims of September 11, 2001, but only as a surrogate for the Bush administration, not as the man solely responsible for that tragedy. Also, both of them simply criticized the policies of the administration, they made no moral or ethical charges.
Indeed, Scott's scathing disclosure comes across as an implicit acknowledgment of shared immoral and unethical behavior. This conveys a spiritual aspect in Scott's action that was missing from all the prior tell-all books released by former administration members.
I think this book will strike a deeper cord in the American electorate than all the past books of former Bush administration officials. It portrays a sense of awakening, of returning to a core set of beliefs. Whereas candidate Bush simply talked the talk about "restoring honor and dignity to the White House" Scott has walked the walk.
Now, to beg the question; is our country awakening and preparing to return to it's core set of beliefs about individual freedom and basic rights? If Scott's book is any indication, we just might be, we just might be.