Thursday, May 29, 2008

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Monica Crowley's jet black pot

On her blog, Monica Crowley disapproves of Scott McClellan's new tell-all book:

[F]or someone who was once the president's confidante, someone he knew and trusted, someone who gave him the opportunity of a lifetime, to write a tell-all while that history is still being made, is not cool. There will be plenty of memoirs coming out of the Bush administration. Most will be cover-your-tushy affairs, as memoirs often are. Some will paint a glossy picture. Some will be critical. But their timing is crucial.

McClellan could have published this book in 8 months, when Bush was on his way out the door. But then, he wouldn't have sold as many books. Publishing now may make him a bit wealthier, but it's simply not cool to do to your former boss and your president. Not cool at all.

Crowley, of course, made her name by plagiarizing Paul Johnson writing two books about her experiences as a foreign policy aide for ex-president Richard Nixon. Here's an excerpt from Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review of Crowley's first book:
All this makes for some fascinating, if gossipy, reading. It also makes the reader question Ms. Crowley's assertion that ''through our conversations, Nixon was insuring that his message and his vision would live on after he was gone.''

Ms. Crowley writes that her account (which tends to read like a tape-recorded transcript) was based on ''a daily diary beginning in 1989, of which Nixon was unaware.''

''The quotes herein are the words of former President Nixon verbatim,'' she goes on. ''His professional and personal disclosures were made in confidence but with the implicit understanding that they would be eventually recounted.'' Would Mr. Nixon have wanted his petty, self-serving remarks about other politicians laid out in print? Would he have wanted his overheard phone conversations preserved for posterity? Would he have wanted his gloating interest in Mr. Clinton's problems exposed? It's hard to imagine that anyone would, least of all Mr. Nixon, with his compulsive desire to rehabilitate his reputation.

As near as I can figure, Crowley thinks it's OK to publish tell-alls once the person you have served has left the scene, or if you say only laudatory things about this person (since can't find Crowley berating Ari Fleischer for publishing his memoirs before Bush left office).

I'm just going to file thus under the "distinction without a difference" category and move on.

UPDATE: Can't resist one historical correction to Crowley's post. She writes, "George Stephanopoulos was the first high-ranking White House official to publish a tell-all while his president was still in office."

Actually, no. David Stockman's The Triumph of Politics beat Stephanopolous' All Too Human to it by more than a decade.

posted by Dan on 05.29.08 at 04:54 PM


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