Scott McLellan’s book is getting alot of buzz this morning, mostly on the basis that it sounds like it’s written by the Daily Kos. I’ll reserve judgment on whether the snippets now being discussed are reflective of the book until I read the book but I don’t need to wait to pass judgment on this quote in the AJC’s article:

“President Bush has always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options, including sitting around engaging in extended debate about them, before making a choice,” McClellan wrote. “Rather, he chooses based on his gut and his most deeply held convictions. Such was the case with Iraq.”

Based on what Bob Woodward wrote in “Bush at War”, McLellan’s take simply doesn’t hold water. Woodward wrote about how President Bush would toss out a subject with his national security team and let them argue about their positions to get the benefit of multiple perspectives.

It’s also worth noting that Dr. Rice said that she appreciated President Bush’s ability to “ask the third, fourth and fifth questions” on foreign policy subjects.

At this point, I don’t find that portion of McLellan’s book credible but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the book until I’ve read the entire book. One thing that I won’t give him the benefit of the doubt on, though, is his capabilities as a press secretary. Frankly, he was brutal, possibly the worst press secretary in White House history. Many was the time that conservatives complained about his press briefings, which I later nicknamed as the “fetal position briefings.”

There was a night and day difference between his briefings and Tony Snow’s briefings. McLellan would accept the premise of the reporters’ questions; Tony wouldn’t. McLellan just kept repeating the same answer; Tony would first challenge the premise, then recite statistics to refute the premise.

Don’t think that Mr. McLellan didn’t notice that Tony Snow was a media star for the White House. Compared with McLellan being kept out of sight as often as possible, that had to hurt his ego pretty good.

In an interview Tuesday, McClellan said he retains great admiration and respect for Bush. “My job was to advocate and defend his policies and speak on his behalf,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me now to share my own views and perspective on things. There were things we did right and things we did wrong. Unfortunately, much of what went wrong overshadowed the good things we did.”

That’s quite the telling quote. Why didn’t Mr. McLellan think that it was his job to challenge the premise of the reporters’ questions? His job wasn’t to be the Washington press corps’ punching bag. It was to get accurate information out to the American people. He failed miserably in that capacity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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