Leaping Ever Rightward

It's an odd little world we live in. By any reasonable standard, in 2002-2003 Michael Gerson, in his role as White House speechwriter, helped outline a foreign policy approach that, whether you liked it or not, was certainly audacious and new -- taking some strands that had long existed in US political culture and taking them much further than they'd ever gone before. If all this had gone well, Gerson could have left his government job and become a pillar of the Washington Establishment. Since it turned out to be a tremendous failure, instead he got a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship and a Washington Post column.

And now he's being savagely attacked by Michael Ledeen and Mark Steyn for being insufficiently enthusiastic about broadening the war to include attacks on Syria and Iran. "No surprise, then, that Gerson has no stomach for forceful action against the Syranians. He's for sanctions-plus-hard-bargaining." Sanctions! Hard bargaining! Ha! "I don't believe the President thinks of Syria and Iran as mere 'accelerants,'" writes Steyn, "But it's unnerving that someone so close to him these past six years does."