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“I do not believe that the unnamed New York Times op-ed writer, who warns us the president is unfit for office, is of Cabinet rank. Surely anyone at that level would know they would be asked and would have to deny authorship, but since the op-ed writer thinks of themselves as honorable, they wouldn’t want to lie. And in any event, a big name would have no reason to write anonymously; they would quit and get a book deal.”

—Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post

On these pages, Sept. 8, 2018

LAST YEAR The New York Times published a rather questionable op-ed from an anonymous author who supposedly works, or worked, within the Trump administration. The op-ed’s message was basically, “Don’t worry about what the president says. There are adults in the White House to keep him from going off the rails.”

It’s a message some voters have embraced since Donald Trump was elected: Resist! And if you can’t resist in the streets, with your friends, do it behind the backs of your colleagues and superiors. Besides, in the streets, you’d have to wear a real mask. In the West Wing, you’d only need a figurative one.

Who says you’d have to be a Big Name to get a book deal? Fans of the anonymous op-ed should get ready for some better news. Or at least more filling news. Now the country is being treated to a whole anonymous book from the supposed same author. Not just 30 inches of gossip, but whole chapters of it. Here’s more from CNN:

“The anonymous senior Trump administration official whose 2018 New York Times op-ed was called treasonous by President Donald Trump has written a new book about Trump titled A Warning that will be published next month. A draft press release from the publisher obtained by CNN describes the book as ‘picking up from where those first words of warning left off, this explosive book offers a shocking, firsthand account of President Trump and his record.’”

Here we go again. We remember when Primary Colors came out in 1996. The book was some sort of roman á clef—a fictional (but not really) account (but not really) of Bill Clinton’s (but not really) 1992 presidential run (but not really). What knocked people over was that it was written by “Anonymous,” which might have been the publisher’s best marketing strategy. Folks in Washington and Little Rock were all atwitter even before Twitter: Who was Anonymous? Did he work for the Clintons? Was he still in the administration? When would he be outted? Names were tossed around in the usual Washington parlor games. It was anti-climactic when the world found out the writer was just Joe Klein. What? No Carville? No Stephanopoulos? What a downer.

CNN reports the author of this year’s anonymous book turned down a seven-figure advance and will donate a “substantial” portion of the royalties. But this book will probably make millions, and those undonated royalties will enrich the writer all the same. All for slipping around his, or her, co-workers and bosses, and continuing to work for a president the writer secretly detests.

Why not resign instead? And take the case to the people with a name attached?

But that would be honorable. Who resigns these days over things so simple and obsolete as values and conscience? How old-fashioned. How quaint. How conservative.

Besides, there’s no money in it.

Print Headline: No guts, no glory

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