Scott McClellan’s new bombshell book, What Happened has brought forth a full court push-back from the White House, but whats more interesting is his depiction of the role of the national press corps in the lead up to the war.
“[T]he national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq,” he writes.
McClellan also writes that “the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”
This is a surprise?
The other rather shocking little tidbit relates to Bush’s cocaine use allegations during the 2000 campaign,
when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.
The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite “somewhere in the Midwest.” Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.
“‘The media won’t let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,’ I heard Bush say. ‘You know, the truth is I honestly don’t remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don’t remember.'”
“I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?” McClellan wrote. “How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Bush, according to McClellan, “isn’t the kind of person to flat-out lie.”
“So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It’s the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true,” McClellan wrote. “And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious – political convenience.”
In the years that followed, McClellan “would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment.” McClellan likened it to a witness who resorts to “I do not recall.”