I had to think long and hard about this headline, because I will undoubtedly hear from the Hutchison camp that her conservative credentials need no burnishing. Nevertheless:
The Quorum Report carries the news that Hutchison has hired Rich Galen, the executive director of GOPAC and a well known conservative commentator and blogger, as a member of her Senate staff with the title of Senior Counselor. Here is some bio info from the Conservative Leadership Conference blog:
Rich Galen, publisher of the cyber-column “Mullings,” has been named the recipient of the 2007 Lyn Nofziger Award which will be presented at the Conservative Leadership Conference. Galen will be presented with the award by longtime Nofziger friend and associate Ambassador Gerald Carmen at a special awards banquet scheduled for Saturday evening, October 13, 2007.
Galen was press secretary to Dan Quayle, when the former Vice President was a Congressman and a U.S. Senator; and to Newt Gingrich when Gingrich was House Republican Whip and, in 1996 became the communications director of the political office of Speaker Gingrich.
Since March 1998, when he assumed the position of Executive Director of GOPAC, which trains Republicans interested in running for elected office, Galen has written a three-day-a-week political column - “Mullings” - which reaches some 400,000 people per month and is considered required reading by senior reporters and political operatives on both sides of the aisle.
Below is the last (for the moment) installment of Galen’s blog. The subject is a certain recently published book.
(T)he Senate Ethics Committee is mulling over whether or not I can be on the public payroll and continue to write MULLINGS. I am perfectly willing to abide by its decision, but until it does, MULLINGS will take a little break.
•But not until we spend a little time together on the book allegedly written by Scott McClellan.
•Speaking with David Jackson of USA Today yesterday I said, “When he stood behind that podium, nobody believed a word he said. Now that he’s saying bad things about the president, he’s a Delphic oracle.”
•That’s what Jackson put in his front pager in USA Today. I also said that I wondered who had actually written the book because it would surprise me to find (given it is 368 pages) that McClellan actually knows that many words.
•More. I also said that while he was the press secretary, reporters told me that they knew he was told what to say, but not told why he was to say it. Reporters knew McClellan had not been in the meetings when policy was being discussed or decided. And they knew he hadn’t been in the meetings because he would have had nothing to offer.
•It was generally known in Washington that McClellan was such an ineffective spokesman that he would have done better to tack the talking points he had been given to the briefing room wall and leave, rather than waste the press corps’ time hectoring him for an hour-or-so every day.
•I have, on rare occasion, been offered a book deal to write about a former boss. My response has always been (and will always be): When you make the choice to take someone’s money you have, in effect, signed a contract to be loyal. Nothing, short of a grand jury subpoena, should be able tempt you to break that contract.
•The good news about McClellan’s book is found in a paragraph in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram piece by Ken Herman:
“Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida said that McClellan should testify before the House Judiciary Committee to tell what he knows about the White House role in the leak of a CIA operative’s name.”
•How poetically judicial would it be if a big chunk of the money McClellan was paid to have this book written ended up in the hands of attorneys he had to hire to advise him in Congressional testimony which was only made necessary by the fact he put his name on this book?
•I hope McClellan makes enough money on this book to see him through the rest of his life. I can’t imagine anyone hiring him because I can’t imagine anyone trusting him.
So here is the question I would ask: Why would Rich Galen go to work for a senator who has indicated that she does not intend to seek reelection and indeed has hinted that she might resign her seat to run for governor? And while we’re at it, why would a senator who does not intend to seek reelection and has hinted she might resign her seat to run for governor hire Rich Galen? I can think of a couple of answers. (1) She wants to get on the national ticket and she needs a heavyweight conservative in her corner. (2) She intends to run for governor and she needs a heavyweight conservative in her corner.