More from the Way Back Machine

Roger Rosenblatt wrote this back on Oct. 29, 2000:

I mean no disrespect to the Undecideds or the occasionally Decideds, or to the non-Republican faithful who have come to the conclusion that George W. Bush should be president of the United States. But, are you kidding?

Here is a choice between an apparently amiable fellow who talks about bringing people together, and a man with 24 years’ experience in national government and international affairs, who is extraordinarily competent, clear-headed, fair-minded, egalitarian to the bones; who will enact policies that retain and make the best use of our astonishing prosperity; and who is — as I know personally — big-hearted, honest, loyal, devoted to his wife, children and friends and (does one really need to say this?) likable.

Why is this election so close? Because too many people see money up, crime down and their own gardens in bloom, and thus conclude that matters of public policy have no connection to their lives. So they focus on nonsense. They tilt toward Bush in the debates out of some adolescent response to powerlessness and ineptitude. They tilt away from Gore because he appears to know that he’s intellectually superior to and more civic-minded than his opponent. He is.

My fellow Americans: It’s not about likability. It’s about who keeps the checklist, who flies the plane. [my emphasis]

Then there is this:

On this wonk business: I spoke with Gore in his hotel room the week before last. Having completed a day of Regis, Oprah, “Saturday Night Live,” the Al Smith dinner, and set to wake up at 5 a.m. to do the “Today” show, he stretched out and had a beer. It was close to midnight. He should have been exhausted. Instead, in answer to my questions, he sailed into exquisitely detailed, many-referenced and well-over-my-head explanations of the economy, the arms race and anything else his mind embraced.

Why? Not to impress me, I assure you. It’s simply that he loves traveling in academic territory. If his tendency to sometimes talk like a monograph comes off as bullying, it’s a flaw of style. Live with it. When he is president, we will all smile it off as a treasurable quirk.

Or do you prefer George W.’s response to the 34-year-old single woman in the third debate who asked how his tax plan would affect her: “You get a plan that will include prescription drugs… You’re going to live in a peaceful world… It’s less likely that you’ll be harmed in your neighborhood”? Is it for thinking like this that Bush has received a press pass to the election?[my emphasis again]

Thanks to Will for this catch.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....