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August 15, 2007



James Fallows in Atlantic Monthly has some pithy advice for Gerson as a columnist.

Instead let me reinforce a point made recently by Matthew Yglesias, Brian Beutler*, and others about Gerson's fundamental miscasting in his new role as regular newspaper columnist. There are two big problems Gerson will have to surmount if he wants to succeed.

First, (as argued previously here), he has to stop writing high-mindedly about sweet reason and bipartisan compromise in a way that suggests he had nothing to do with creating the polarized situation he now bemoans. He was for years and years one of the handful of advisors (reportedly) closest to the president. Through that time, despite ample contact with the press, he sent out no detectable signal** that he disapproved in any way of of the Bush-Rove-Cheney tone.

This problem will diminish with the passing years; but Gerson's first 18 months of column-writing will occur with Bush still in the White House, and he can't get away with his current faux-naive approach that long.
How could he solve both problems at once? With a column or article that honestly examined the tension between the goals he espouses now and those he worked for over the last eight years. Not hand-wringing. Not tale-telling. But an application of his considerable intelligence and character to say: how could a government have done things I now consider dangerous? Where were we right, but also where were we wrong?

* [That Redlands public school bonding must be REALLY strong.....LOL]

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