I remember as I was just starting my career and my dad was still alive, he'd keep throwing me this piece of advice: "Neil, as you're climbing that ladder in life, always remember the folks you meet on the way up, because you're gonna bump into them again on the way down."
He'd laugh. I'd laugh. But we both got the point: Good fortune doesn't always last; good manners should.
Which is why my Italian dad was a big believer -- as was my Irish mom -- in being decent to all. Or trying to be.
As my dad would put it, how you treat those who can do nothing for you, matters a lot more than how you treat those who can.
Which got me thinking about this former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer.
He's the latest aggrieved ex-staffer to put out with a kiss-and-tell book to settle scores. Not with those who apparently treated Latimer well in the Bush White House, but if his former boss William McGurn is correct, writing in today's Wall Street Journal, with those who did not.
So Donald Rumsfeld gets a pass because he said nice things about Latimer. And President Bush does not, because he all-but ignored Latimer.
If only Bush knew. If only Bush's top advisers knew this gnome they were dismissing was writing it all down.
Frankly, I don't know. What I do know is I've seen this before.
Scott McClellan, a forgettable press secretary replaced by an unforgettable Tony Snow doesn't forget to recount every slight.
Don Regan, the blunt former chief of staff for Ronald Reagan, has a dustup with Nancy Reagan, who wants him out, then Don comes out with a doozie on Nancy and that whole astrology thing.
Perhaps had their departures been better handled, their views better vetted and simple kindnesses been better considered, they'd never have betrayed these confidences.
But they did. Because they remembered -- every slight, every time.
I know, some folks are snakes. And no matter how nice you are to them, they still bite. But do as many bite you if you give them no personal reason to? I wonder.
I think those personnel experts have it wrong. They keep saying hell hath no fury like a worker scorned.
Not so. Hell hath no fury like a worker… ignored.
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