Kessler's Sept. 15 column downplays the rampant plagiarism former Bush aide Tim Goeglein committed -- it's not mentioned until the fifth paragraph of his column, and well after he calls Goeglein "the conservative voice of the White House" who "acted as liaison with conservatives, taking Bush’s message to them and bringing back their concerns and suggestions" -- and quickly turns the story to the saintly actions of Bush:
“I departed the White House that Friday shattered and fearful, exiting the White House gates as I had done a thousand times before and vowing to myself that, even as I returned to work to foster a smooth transition for my successor, I would never again darken the doorstep of the West Wing,” Goeglein writes.
The following week, Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff, told Goeglein that Bush wanted to see him. A few days later, Goeglein walked into the Oval Office and began by offering an apology; Bush cut him off.
“Tim,” he said, “I want you to know I forgive you.”
“But Mr. President, I owe you . . .”
“Tim,” he said, “I have known mercy and grace in my own life, and I am offering it to you now. You are forgiven,” he said firmly.
Then Bush stunned Goeglein even more. Bush said he wanted him to bring in his wife Jenny and two sons. The following week, they all met with Bush in the Oval Office.
“He gave each boy presidential gifts; photos were snapped; hugs all around and handshakes; we departed in a daze of gratitude,” Goeglein says.
“I was stunned not only that he offered his sense of forgiveness to me but also that he wanted to extend that grace and mercy to my family,” Goeglein says.
Kessler lets Goeglein explain away his plagiarism as "an extension of my horrid pride," as he also downplayed the extent of it. Kessler wrote that according to the Fort Wayne, Ind., newspaper that published Goeglein, "20 of 38 Goeglein columns between 2000 and 2008 contained 'portions copied from other sources without attribution.'" In fact, the paper found a total of 27 Goeglein columns dating to 1995 containing some form of plagiarism. Kessler also denies credit to the blogger who first discovered the plagiarism.
Kessler does, however, make sure offer a weird endorsement of Goeglein's book: "In his book, he presents a thoughtful critique of conservatism and what it means today. Ironically, in view of his plagiarism, the book is a breezy read, impressively researched, and full of thoughtful insights."
Kessler does not indicate whether he did any spot-checking to see if Goeglein plagiarized any part of his book.