Scott McClellan Should Have Resigned

White House flak should have followed historical examples of officials quitting in protest.

By + More

While Scott McClellan's belated confession on the sins of the Bush White House is flying off the bookshelves, consider this question: Why didn't he resign?

The former Bush spokesman will not earn any profile-in-courage award from this reporter. He had to know that the inner circle was keeping him out of the loop, but he marched out with the latest party line of falsehoods.

There is something about a resistance to resignation by officials of either party when they feel betrayed.

It could be the intoxication of power or it could be status. Either way, presidential aides can't seem to reconcile a break in trust or honesty to just walk away.

There are heroes of the past.

During the Watergate scandal, Atty. Gen. Elliot Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelshaus resigned because they would not fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Jerry terHorst, the White House press secretary to Gerald Ford, resigned after the president pardoned Richard Nixon.

In the Carter administration, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned over the ill-fated rescue attempt of the U.S. hostages in Iran. Vance could not live with the mission in the desert.

During the Clinton administration, Peter Edelman and Mary Jo Bane resigned from the Department of Health and Human Services over the president's decision to sign welfare overhaul legislation.

So why didn't Colin Powell resign in the current administration when Vice President Cheney and then-Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld repeatedly shoved him aside? Powell later spoke to the United Nations with flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.

In the Clinton years, at least one member of his cabinet should have resigned over his repeated lies to them on the Lewinsky scandal. They repeated his lies in his defense. None resigned.

Loyalty to the president can be important and essential to any cabinet member or White House assistant.

However, there comes a time when a man or woman has to look in the mirror and make a decision about his or her own reputation when it is in peril.

In my book, Scott McClellan may make a pot of money on his kiss-and-tell tome. But he should have gone back to Texas long ago when Bush, Cheney and company were using him to mislead the country.