In response to his scathing memoir detailing the "propaganda"-filled run up to war and seedy political machinations behind the CIA leak case, Scott McClellan has received withering criticism from his former colleagues. A money grubbing, attention seeking, devoid-of-principles hack has been the description of choice; "this is not the Scotty we knew," the most popular quote.
One former Bush aide, however, is sticking up for McClellan, arguing that the former Bush press secretary is "getting savaged for saying what everyone knows to be true."
Mike Turk served as the eCampaign director for President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign. As such, his tenure corresponded with that of McClellan's. No longer connected to the administration, Turk is now one of the few (if any) voices with connections to that crowd who are saying, quite simply, that the book "What Happened" is steeped in little more than truth.
"After watching McClellan on Today this morning, I think the reception his book received exemplifies the point he was making," Turk told The Huffington Post in an email. "People had high hopes for President Bush to bring America together after his election and after the attacks on 9/11. They felt disillusioned by the Administration's adoption of the 'win at all costs' partisan mentality in this town. I think the bigger point of Scott's book comes from the lessons he learned while playing a part in the permanent campaign. It's an exploration of how that mindset can lead to some really bad choices."
Indeed, Turk notes, he himself has been on the receiving end of Bush-loyalist scorn. After the campaign and his tenure at the Republican National Committee, Turk criticized the party for not fully embracing technological advances. "As a result I'm already on the watch list for the GOP establishment for some of my own criticisms," he said.
Earlier in the day, Turk left a message defending McClellan on the online service Twitter, which was highlighted by Matt Stoller on the site OpenLeft.
And while he has only seen the major excerpts of the book, Turk predicted that, ultimately, McClellan would be looked at optimistically. He suggested the memoir may stand up better to history than the Bush administration itself.
"While Scott's going to weather a fierce storm for writing it, just as Matt Dowd did with his New York Times piece, I think it ultimately will be regarded as a very personal look into the modern political machinery that so many people are sick of," he said.