The Corner

In (Partial) Defense of McClellan

He should probably have waited a year before publishing his book. But I don’t agree with two of the criticisms of him I’ve been reading today.

Yes, he was an unimpressive press secretary. But I wouldn’t say it quite as dismissively as people are doing. It’s an extremely difficult job, one I certainly wouldn’t be up to.

I also wonder if the people who are now saying that he should have spoken out at the time instead of waiting until he had left office would really have patted him on the back had he taken that advice. Would they really be saying, “Good for him for speaking up now and not waiting for a few years”? Or would they be saying that he was failing to do the job the president had appointed him to do, and that he should speak out on his own time?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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