Well, boy howdy…
Now it comes out
that Richard Clarke was a Gore supporter in the 2000 election
(something that's been misreported — or at least misrepresented
— in various opinion pieces and news reports
of late). Not a big deal, in and of itself, but when taken with
other bits and pieces, it does seem to suggest that his motivations for
his recent criticism of the Bush administration aren't exactly as pure
as he might have us believe.
CLARKE: No, I did not.
RUSSERT: You voted for Al Gore?
CLARKE: Yes, I did.
RUSSERT: In 2004, you'll vote for John Kerry?
I'm not going to endorse John Kerry. That's what the White House wants
me to do. They want to say I'm part of the Kerry campaign. I've already
pledged I'm not part of the Kerry campaign, and I will not serve in the
RUSSERT: Will you vote for him?
CLARKE: That's my business.
sad part is that I think Clarke certainly has some good insight into
what went on in the White House, but I fear that his publisher has
coaxed him into a bad position in order to sell more books. My
understanding is that the book is actually a pretty balanced,
well-written piece of work.
- The timing of Mr. Clarke's criticism is odd. I heard from at least one source (Glenn Beck?) that the release date for the book was actually moved up to coincide with the 9/11 Commission Hearings (also suggested in this editorial piece by
Jan Ireland). If so, it makes all of this brouhaha seem a lot
more disingenuous (does that make it “ingenuous”?) and a lot more like
marketing. Other reports have claimed that the book was delayed
while White House counsel reviewed it. Seems fishy to me…I buy
the “moved up” story a lot better than the “delayed” one.
- Nobody's talking, but I'm betting that Clarke got a sizable advance from his publisher for the book. It's selling like hotcakes, and even knocked The South Beach Diet out of first place at Amazon. The Drudge Report says
that Clarke is on track to earn over $1 million for the book (and
quotes a “top source” at Simon & Schuster saying that Mr. Clarke
receive a six-figure advance).
- A recent Time Magazine Viewpoint column
pointed out that many of Clarke's recent statements don't square with
what he wrote in his book. In fact, the book apparently provides
a more balanced and consistent report of the goings-on in various
- I think it's curious that Clarke would be so
bold as to blame the incumbent candidate for president for 9/11 when he
himself had responsibility for counter-terrorism for something like 3
decades prior. Bill Frist (R-Tenn) went further in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Sentate on Friday, stating “It
is awesomely self-serving for Mr. Clarke to assert that the United
States could have stopped terrorism if only the three President's he
served had better listened to his advice.”
and family members of those killed on 9/11 have, in some cases, come
out strongly against Mr. Clarke's assertions and suppositions.
(Others, to be fair, believe him). In this blog post, Jeff Jarvis laments Clarke's apology
as an example of the “politicization of 9/11” and opines that “it
makes this about us vs. us instead of us vs. them.” (It's a good
post…you should read it in its entirety).
At the end of
the day, I suspect that Clarke probably had something useful to
contribute to the 9/11 Commission, but it looks to me as though the
marketing spin has overshadowed the message. As a result,
anything of value that could have been used to improve the process has
probably been thoroughly smashed. Pity.