REMEMBER THE DISASTROUS FOREIGN POLICY DOCTRINE AND ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE.

REMEMBER THE DISASTROUS FOREIGN POLICY DOCTRINE AND ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE. The much-hyped Matt Scully takedown of his old colleague, former Bush speech-writer-turned WaPo columnist and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Michael Gerson (not, alas, available in full to non-subscribers), offers a hilarious, gossipy portrait of an apparently shameless (and heretofore effective) credit-hog and self-promoter, though I think its relevance to a substantive take on Gerson (or Scully) one way or the other is basically nil. It's great fun, after all, to watch guys fighting over credit for something like the "Axis of Evil" line, but at this late date in the steaming wreckage that is the Bush presidency it's also kind of appalling, and the important thing to keep in mind is of course the policy disasters for which all these people bear some responsibility and for which the president (whom Scully still seems to love) bears the most responsibility of all.

As for Gerson and his current posts as a D.C. establishment-approved expert and pundit, his bio does list some past jobs besides speechwriter, as a policy aide/advisor to Bush and other Republicans as well as an editor at U.S. News and World Report. His foreign-policy expertise may have, um, failed him at times in his capacity as a speechwriter, as in the case of the lines he originally wrote (according to Scully) for the president to deliver on the USS Abraham Lincoln under the "Mission Accomplished" banner on May 1, 2003:

The sirens of Baghdad are quiet. The desert has returned to silence. The Battle of Iraq is over, and the United States and our allies have prevailed.

According to Scully, the two people who flagged these lines as overstated and said they should be cut were Karen Hughes and Don Rumsfeld.

--Sam Rosenfeld

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