I Almost Killed Peter Jennings!
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Jan. 28 2002 1:35 PM

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Joe,

Advertisement

I don't blame you for scoffing at the Bush 43 and TR comparison. I half scoff myself. But I've made an ass out of myself so often by underestimating Bush it's not even funny. I refer you to today's Washington Post piece on life inside the White House in the days just after 9/11. Obviously the sources for this long piece (part of that rarest of creatures—a newspaper series actually worth reading) are paid to make Bush look good. Nonetheless the evidence is persuasive for this key fact: That at every turn, Bush grasped the key issue at stake and laid it out for his staff in clear terms. The crucial players appear to have been Bush himself and Condoleezza Rice. Meanwhile Tom Daschle is shown protesting because using the word "war" after 9/11 might be a bit too strong.

It's time we all rethought what makes a beautiful mind. Historical knowledge, high IQ, and the ability to grasp sophisticated concepts may not be as important as we think. Most smart people would have handled this situation far worse than Bush.

By the way, did I mention that I almost killed Peter Jennings this morning? I was driving into work listening to Martin Gilbert's biography of Churchill. The French were just surrendering to the Nazis as I turned swiftly into the parking garage. There on the sidewalk, between me and the garage entrance, was the ABC anchor. I pulled up short and I think he glared at me.

If I'd hit him Reed Irvine would have named me Man of the Year, but I would have gone down in history as the Grade B pundit who crushed the superstar. Mortifying.

This will be a sleepless night for many readers as they anticipate our discussion of National Greatness Conservatism, which I at least am looking forward to.

Best,
David

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.