March 19, 2007 — Michael Gerson, former policy adviser and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, spoke at the Shorenstein Center’s brown-bag lunch about the moral trajectory of the Republican Party during Bush’s term of office.
Gerson, who will become an op/ed writer for the Washington Post in May 2007, recounted that his first self-described “political infatuation” was with President Jimmy Carter, but said he ultimately grew alienated from the Democratic Party due in large part to its use of religious conservatives as “foils.”
Gerson also talked in great detail about his brand of conservatism— what he calls “social justice Republicanism”—which he believes President Bush helped to popularize, but has since fallen out of favor with the Party.
While praising Bush’s instincts in this area, Gerson noted that it was markedly easier to pursue an agenda of social issues in the early years of the administration than it is now. Additionally, he said he does not believe that issues of social justice are “a natural fit” for any of the presidential candidates in the Republican field.