Who speaks for Pope George?

Success has a million fathers; failure is an orphan. By this measure, George W. Bush’s recent commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame was a success. Several people have told us, each with absolute authority, who drafted the speech. Unfortunately, the authoritative versions don’t agree. One name, emphatically reported, was Michael Novak, who also was present at Notre Dame as part of the presidential party. Frankly, the speech didn’t read like Novak’s prose, with which we’re pretty familiar since, in a previous political existence, he was a columnist here. Still, the ideas could have been his, reworked a bit by White House wordsmiths. Now, however, we read a declaration from National Review Online that the president’s address "is a marvelously succinct statement of first principles" and "should be produced as a pamphlet."

The author of this encomium? Michael Novak. Guess that rules him out as the president’s ghostwriter. Doesn’t it?

Published in the 2001-07-13 issue: 

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