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

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Joe,

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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

David Brooks is senior editor of the Weekly Standard and author of Bobos in Paradise.

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