According to Matthew Scully, who worked with him for five years, [Michael J.] Gerson did not come up with the language that made him famous. "Few lines of note were written by Mike," Scully says, "and none at all that come to mind from the post-9/11 addresses -- not even 'axis of evil.' "What? You mean Bush isn't speaking his own words... and his ghost is now under fire for himself having a ghost? And the ghostwriter's ghostwriter is feeling sad and lonely?
"The narrative that Mike Gerson presented to the world is a story of extravagant falsehood," Scully writes. "He has been held up for us in six years' worth of coddling profiles as the great, inspiring, and idealistic exception of the Bush White House. In reality, Mike's conduct is just the most familiar and depressing of Washington stories -- a history of self-seeking and media manipulation that is only more distasteful for being cast in such lofty terms."Way to improve your reputation. And thanks for the writing sample! We'll keep it on file in case we create a slot for Director of Adjectives.
Scully recounts the story of the "axis of evil" phrase, which Bush used in his 2002 State of the Union to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Scully notes that colleague David Frum originally came up with "axis of hatred," as reported before. Scully says he suggested changing it to "evil." He does not cite any examples of Gerson explicitly claiming the phrase as his own, pointing instead to news accounts attributing it to him that have gone uncorrected.Evil has gnawed at him for years. Not actual evil, just the word "evil." He blurted it out 5 years ago. Why doesn't anyone know? Why doesn't anyone care?!!! I am the writer! See me! Feel me! They said "hatred," but I -- I! -- knew it should be "evil"! Evil! EEEEEEVILLLLLL! Ah ha ha ha ha.