“Why am I supposed to be the only person that is unable to tell my story?” asked Donna Brazile, during the early days of her media blitz. Apparently she shouldn’t have worried. Her campaign memoir, Hacks, just debuted at number three on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Still, I suspect Brazile’s urge to speak her truth—and her anger at anyone who might be trying to stop her—is genuine. Being a political operative, even a high-level one, is an act of self-censorship. You don’t express yourself. You help other, more important people express themselves. You forgo the pride of authorship for the chance to make a difference. It’s a reasonable tradeoff. Until it isn’t. For some of us, there comes a time when our own voices bubble up. We want to be heard. And if we’re lucky enough to find publishers, we write books. I say this from experience. My own political memoir, Thanks, Obama, came out two months ago. In many ways it’s quite different from Brazile’s. Where she spent decades in the upper echelons of Democratic politics, I entered the White House as a junior-level speechwriter when I was 24 and left as a mid-level one five years later. Also, while far from perfect, my experience in politics was positive, which is bad for book sales but good for mental health. Even so, I empathize with Brazile’s hunger for self-expression. I know how it feels to decide (or be tricked by your ego into thinking, or both) that you have a story worth telling. And I know what it’s like to grapple with a new set of responsibilities. It’s a question I thought about constantly while writing Thanks, Obama, and again while reading Hacks. What do operatives-turned-authors owe not just their publishers and readers, but the people and organizations they used to represent? While the most common answer is “loyalty,” I don’t think that’s correct. I wrote admiringly of President Obama and my former colleagues, but that’s because I genuinely admire them. Brazile writes harshly about the Obama White House and the DNC, two organizations I’ve worked for, but I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with her sharing her opinions. (When the shoe is on the other foot, and Reince Priebus is