Fallows on Gerson

Former (and quite skilled) Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson laments the demise of the centrist political tradition he says Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shared. James Fallows isn’t buying it:

natural path for people leaving an Administration is to angle for inclusion in the Council of Elders, the DC permanent-pundit class who spend the following decades wringing their hands about how much nastier and less public-spirited politics is now than the olden days. Politics is plenty nasty now. But is interesting, to put it mildly, to hear one of the Bush Administration’s main rhetoricians locate the lost golden age at 1992 and 2000. Sentences like this, from the Post column, are written as applications for the Council: “The abandonment of Bushism and Clintonism is also leaving many Americans ideologically homeless.” So is a title like this: “Two Parties Fleeing the Center.” Moral equivalence indeed! It would be convenient to think that Bush is a conciliator, whose ideal of harmony is sadly being ignored by the squabbling midgets who hope to succeed him. But donnez moi un break: you know, we’ve been reading the papers these last six and a half years.

Of course, reading the papers might be the problem on some level, since they’re the ones who spent years painting notions like “let’s not wage speculative wars against countries that haven’t attacked us or our allies” as fringe left-wing ideas barely fit for serious discussion.