He was working on a story for the Washington Times on Mark Steyn and Canada’s human rights legislation, and called one morning to interview me on the law and the various blog posts I had recently written on the topic.
As far as journalists go, it was clear he was particularly knowledgeable. He was also relentless, meeting my every comment with a very precise and challenging follow-up.
In fact, like Chris Matthews in his heyday, Mr. Brown just kept coming at me as we debated the pros and cons of hate laws, Canada’s legislative approach and the then-heated controversy over Macleans Magazine’s publication of an excerpt from Steyn’s book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.
In short, Mr. Brown’s sharp intellect and very fair pursuit beyond my own pat answers was as challenging as it was invigourating. He was tough - but sometimes, tough is good. He made me think.
By the end of our discussion, my own position was far better honed - and I was curious about who the man on the other end of the phone line was.
It turns out Mr. Brown is a Pulitzer prize nominee, with 15 years experience as journalist, editor and copywriter, and writing credits for the Globe & Mail, Washington Times and New York Times, among others.
Now, I generally like journalists. I admire their craft, and am at least a bit envious of those who have the good fortune to build careers pursuing the exploration of public affairs.
So I was pleased that Mr. Brown and I have stayed in contact. We ultimately met face to face in January, for what proved to be a much extended lunch and debate. At that point, our dialogue moved to the U.S. presidential primaries and the rather fascinating, ongoing contest for the Democratic nomination.
As regular Wise Law Blog readers will know, Hillary Clinton is my choice. Mr. Brown, however, is apparently an Obama believer.
We’ve been bantering back and forth by email for the last few weeks. Since Mr. Brown may well be on to something in his good-spirited, if nearly cocky predictions of an Obama victory, I thought I’d share a few of his more "prescient" comments since last week’s Super Tuesday contests:
February 10, 2008
Re: hate to say i told you so…
Hmm, Barack wins three more and Hillary's campaign manager is stepping down.
..the pundits will now reverse course from “convention fight” to “Barack coronation.”
February 7, 2008
Re: the race is on
Asked about torture and waterboarding and whether they would do it in a ticking time bomb scenario, the three current front runners answered (this is from The Ticking Time Bomb Thought-Experiment at CommonDreams.org):
McCain: “Should [an interrogator use torture] and thereby save an American city or prevent another 9/11, authorities and the public would surely take this into account when judging his actions and recognize the extremely dire situation he confronted.”
Hillary Clinton: “Those are very rare, but if they occur, there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing it ….[If] we have sufficient basis to believe that there is something imminent, yeah, but then we’ve got to have a check and balance on that.”
Obama: "The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values, and a grave danger to our security …torture is not a part of the answer - it is a fundamental part of the problem …. Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them. Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence … When I am president America will …[stand] up to these deplorable tactics. When I am president we won’t work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution, we will be straight with the American people and true to our values.”
February 6, 2008
Re: the race is on
By the way, it won't go down to the wire. The race is over. Hillary just hasn't been buried yet. The sharper pols and backers see the writing on the wall as I do and Hillary will start tumbling like the stock market. Obama will then crush McCain in a landslide.
February 6, 2008
Re: the race is on
Garry: I see my boy Obama is inching forward in the race. White males are coming to him. And if you noticed the results, for me the most interesting numbers were in the popular vote.
Hillary tops out at 70 percent in her home state of Arkansas and bottoms out at 17 percent in Idaho of all places. She loses in several midwest states with only 20-30 percent support among Democrats! Even her wins are shaky. After Arkansas her best support was in her adopted NY with 57 percent. Her other wins hovered in the mid-low 50s except NH where she won with 39 percent.
Barack by contrast hit lows of 27 percent in Clinton's home state of Arkansas, 31 in Oklahoma and 33 in Florida. But his highs were 80 percent in Idaho, followed by 74 in Alaska and Kansas, 67 in Colorado and Minnesota, 66 in Georgia and then 65 in Obama's home state of Illinois and 61 in ND. In all these states, Obama won by bigger margins than Hillary did in her adopted home state.
That tells you something, doesn't it?
Time will tell, Mr. Brown.
Hillary Clinton has been written off more times in the last decade than virtually any other woman in America. I do not think it is over for her - not by a long shot.
We’ll see the numbers after voters in Texas and Ohio (March 4), and Pennsylvania (April 22) have spoken.
At that point, we will revisit who shall be entitled to say “I told you so.”
For now, Mr. Obama is ahead.
Enjoy it while you can...
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto