Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gerson gone

Sad, sad news* from the Post:

Michael J. Gerson, one of President Bush's most trusted advisers and author of nearly all of his most famous public words during the past seven years, plans to step down in the next couple weeks in a decision that colleagues believe will leave a huge hole in the White House at a critical period.

Gerson said in an interview that he has been talking with Bush for many months about leaving for writing and other opportunities but waited until the White House political situation had stabilized somewhat. "It seemed like a good time," he said. "Things are back on track a little. Some of the things I care about are on a good trajectory."

Gerson has been "one of the most central players in Bush's inner circle, often considered among the three or four aides closest to the president". He "shap[ed] the language of the Bush presidency," as well as "much of its policy".

He was the speechwriter, the man who put the words in Bush's mouth. However much Bush may have garbled his efforts, I'm not quite sure what the White House will do without him. Bush's presidency, after all, has been a presidency of spin, of political truth that bears little to no resemblance to the Truth. Gerson at least made Bush sound compassionate, if also highly appealing to the GOP's religious base.

The spin will continue, Gerson-free. Not that it'll make all that much difference. With or without him, Bush has virtually nothing left in the tank. (And even Gerson can't spin Iraq into a Bush-friendly issue anymore. The American people know better.)

* I'm being facetious, of course. I'm hardly one to mourn the resignation of one of Bush's closest advisors. (How do you judge the advisor of such a horrible president? Should he not be judged mostly by the state of the presidency itself? In that case, was he also a failure?) But at least Gerson cared about such issues as Darfur and AIDS. That's more than you can say about most of his colleagues at the White House, not to mention about most Republicans generally.

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