Opinion: Maybe they just haven’t read McClellan’s book


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When President Bush was popular and his remaining time in office was long, congressional Republicans were quick to jump to his defense. Now, they are hugging their seats.

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s book has come out, and the president’s putative Republican allies have been mostly silent. OK, so Congress is in recess. But when Bush was high in the polls, GOP lawmakers would rush to TV studios and send out mass e-mails to defend the president.


Democrats in Congress, of course, have been ready to pounce. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he had instructed his staff to begin discussions with McClellan to determine whether the committee should hold a hearing on revelations in the book about alleged attempts to cover-up the Valerie Plame leak.

Finally, a Republican has piped up. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the panel’s top Republican, said: “While I’m sure Mr. McClellan’s publishers would want nothing more than some free publicity from Judiciary Committee Democrats, we have more important things to do on this committee than investigate the unfounded allegations of a disgruntled former employee. . . . It should not take a congressional hearing to determine that Mr. McClellan’s statements are not credible.”

No mention of what’s his name? Bush?

— Richard Simon