Well, Matt Latimer has a book out.
Don’t all rush at once to your Barnes and Noble.
The real scoop on young Mr. Latimer, a Bush speechwriter who has now penned the requisite poison pen letters to his president and colleagues, is revealed in this great piece over in the Wall Street Journal by William McGurn — Matt’s boss in Bushland.
Since I don’t know Mr. Latimer and haven’t read the book, there’s no contribution here on his substance. But if McGurn is right, and there’s no reason to suspect otherwise, this book is just another one of those insipid White House aide books in which the disgruntled author uses the gift bestowed on him by trusting superiors to turn the boss and colleagues into human fire hydrants, with the author playing the role of Spot the dog.
There is zero intellectual effort, just an attempt to use the publishing industry to make a quick buck and get a fast fifteen seconds of face time on cable TV. The hero of the piece is apparently Donald Rumsfeld. No problem — I like Rumsfeld. But the author apparently never tells the reader he’s helping Rummy with his, Rumsfeld’s, memoirs, a necessary fact if one is going to dump on others but not the former Defense Secretary.
Latimer’s post-White House career has gotten off to a rocky start. As future employers realize this is the way he treats a former President-boss and the people he worked with — who wants to work with a guy like that?
Once upon a time, before I actually got to the White House, I loved reading books like this as a kid, on the mistaken assumption they were real history. In fact, books like this are to history what McDonald’s is to a gourmet meal in a four star restaurant. So once on the scene and understanding a bit better how the world worked, I adopted a rule if I felt the need to buy. Never buy these odious missives in a bookstore. Wait until that next summer vacation when you are ambling through a used-book sale and — voila! — what once was twenty-something bucks is now a nickel.
Mr. McGurn’s advice, it is clear, is to go the nickel route.
I think he’s on to something. If the late spy novelist Robert Ludlum were telling this tale, I suspect he’d call it “The Latimer Stupidity.”