To be clear, it’s not — obviously — McClellan’s telling the truth, or the content of what he has to say, that I object to. It’s the corruption implied in the inherently suspect act of writing, for his own private gain, an account of his experiences as a public official. I think perhaps it should be the law of the land that no public servant should be allowed to make money by trading off of his public service — ever. As a public servant, the experiences you have and the connections you make in executing the official part of your job should become the property of the public. You may not be paid to write books about these experiences or lecture about them for money. You may not be employed by news organizations or lobbying firms or by any company that does business with the government. You may, however, go on talk shows, talk to writers (as former Bush Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill did with Ron Suskind so effectively in “The Price of Loyalty”), talk to reporters, talk to Congress, blab all you want — just don’t expect to be paid for it.
As a matter of principle, one should not be paid for public service beyond what one was paid for public service, because what you did and saw in the service of the public belongs not to you, but to the public.
Well, you say, what about war heroes? What about presidents? Wouldn’t history suffer?
I don’t think so. And wouldn’t McClellan tell us straight out that he didn’t do it for the money? Isn’t that the last thing he would want anyone to believe?
I’d have been fine with it if he’d told it to Ron Suskind and/or a Senate committee. What chaps my ass is that he “served the public” (however laughable that may sound) for three years as the president’s press secretary, and then scuttled off to his room for two years and wrote a book about it and got paid for it.
I can see why the right-wingers and Bushies are pissed about this. If you’re going to blow the whistle, blow the motherfucker. Don’t crawl off and write a book. They hate McClellan for that, and I don’t blame them.
We need to begin to pry public service apart from private, commercial gain. If we don’t, we will never have any hope of creating a more decent society.