Monday, November 10, 2008
I was so excited watching GPS with Fareed Zakaria yesterday that I felt like a groupie. In that I refuse to believe I waited until I was 50 years old to become a groupie, we’re going to proceed on the theory that the Global Public Square really is great TV.
The program was centered on Barack Obama’s election as President -- as viewed by several historians. Mr. Zakaria announced the program last week and mentioned Walter Isaacson and his book The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. I’m pretty sure he mentioned his other guests but -- if he did -- their names went right by me. I tell you all this just so you can know how shocked I was (pleasantly shocked) when I turned on the show and saw Robert Caro sitting there.
For other than the very, very few that will remember, Robert Caro wrote The Power Broker -- the very first book I ever reviewed here at Get theFlick. More importantly (for this story) he wrote the three-part series on President Johnson -- The Years of Lyndon Johnson. These four books constitute the greatest books I’ve ever read. I read them all several years ago, yet, I have never seen Mr. Caro interviewed nor even appear on another program. Evidently, he doesn’t get out much. That he chose to do so now -- on this particular program -- says something.
The other historians on the show were Joseph Ellis and Jon Meacham. I don’t believe I’ve read any of Mr. Ellis’ books but I’ve read Mr. Meacham’s Franklin and Winston -- another fine book.
The discussion was thoroughly fascinating and I encourage you to watch or read it.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the final segment of the show was an interview with Brent Scowcroft. As Mr. Zakaria said, it would take too long to detail Mr. Scowcroft’s accomplishments. I’ve read one of his books too -- A World Transformed -- written with the first President Bush, for whom Mr. Scowcroft was the National Security Advisor. It too is worth watching or reading.
The upshot of all this is that this week’s show has given me a certain sense of vindication. It has provided a convergence of sorts. We all know that I’m not the smartest person in room. But to see my favorite author on my favorite TV program talking about my choice for President with such hope -- with an excitement about the possibilities -- it gives me hope that maybe I can at least figure out who is the smartest person in the room. If I can help you do that too, well, that makes the day for me.
JON MEACHAM, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN LION": I think that Barack Obama has thought about this exact question a lot more than we have.
I asked him what were his favorite books recently, and "The Power Broker" was on the list.
CARO: Good man.
You may have seen something else recently on President-elect Obama’s reading list. The right-wing Republicans passed around a picture of Obama carrying a book -- “a Muslim’s view of a defeated America.” The hate mail was like so many others you saw in this election -- a lie. The picture and the book were real enough. It was the message that was a lie.
The book ? The Post-American World. The author ? Fareed Zakaria.
Here’s the lie -- just in case you want to remember who the liars (i.e. the stupid people) in the room are too.
November 10, 2008