All presidential speeches are collaborative efforts. No one person can meet the needs of a president, who must often speak several times a day to different audiences. Most major speeches, such as the State of the Union Address and those about policy initiatives and decisions, must travel through the cabinet agencies as well as numerous advisers. In Gerson's case, the issue isn't whether the president's speeches were fashioned by a team, but whether Gerson took the work of others, made them his own and took the credit to boost his profile. He has sufficient knowledge and talent not to plagiarize others.
I have had people plagiarize my work. Rather than saying nothing, or waiting to write an article like Matthew Scully, I immediately contacted the individuals and demanded that they publicly repent. Gerson tells me that Scully never spoke to him about any of the things he writes in the Atlantic article.
The man Scully has profiled is not the Mike Gerson I know. Over two decades, one would expect to see signs of an overactive ego and the sin of pride if they exist. I never did. At the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, I saw Mike at a reception sponsored by National Review. Knowing he had written Gov. George W. Bush's acceptance speech, I asked him if he would be in the hall for its delivery. He said he would not, preferring to walk alone outside. He might have embraced the glory. Instead, he deflected it to the nominee.
That was one of many examples I have witnessed of his humility and character. I don't know what motivated Scully to write what he did. It can only help him among the Bush-haters. It can't hurt Mike Gerson, who is a man of integrity and one whose faith, intellectual curiosity and example I admire.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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