January 25, 2007

On the Attack

It did not take long for the right to attack Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia State of the Union address response to the President.

President Bush's former speechwriter Michael Gerson:
The Democratic response by Virginia Sen. James Webb was also memorable, in a different way. Whenever a politician puts out to the media that he has thrown away the speechwriters’ draft and written the remarks himself (as Webb did), it is often a sign of approaching mediocrity. This was worse. Senator Webb made liberal use of clichés: the middle class is “the backbone” of the country, which is losing its “place at the table.” I am not even sure there is a literary term for a mixed metaphor that crosses two clichés. And Senator Webb’s logic was as incoherent as his language (the two are often related). No “precipitous withdrawal”—but retreat “in short order.” Fight the war on terror vigorously—except where the terrorists have chosen to fight it. It is, perhaps, a good thing that James Webb earned a job as senator. As a speechwriter he would starve.
It looks like Michael Gerson is hating on Senator Jim Webb. The Senator is an accomplish writer who wrote multiple award winning novels and a successful movie called Rules of Engagement. Jim Webb can handle writing a 8 minute speech without any help from a speechwriter.

On the other hand ...

Michael Gerson will always be remembered as the writer who wrote, 'either you are with us or you are with the terrorists' speech for President Bush.
Gerson then throws in another analysis of Webb -- paraphrasing Webb's overall foreign policy message as "Fight the war on terror vigorously—except where the terrorists have chosen to fight it." Yes, this comes from the man who wrote "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." That line applied domestically as well as internationally ... if you cannot support the Bush approach to the War on Terror, you are one of them, the others, the evil ones. Your phone records will be taken, your conversations tapped, your mail opened and if you support an opposing point of view, you will be attacked as a traitor or coward. That's Gerson's legacy.
It's also the legacy of the Republican Party of George W. Bush.


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