I lived in the Washington, D. C. area for fifty two years and in that time met and admired a good many people. Because of my work as a political reporter most of them were in the Government/Political game. A few did something else noteworthy.
One of these was Benjamin C Bradlee, who was the Executive Editor of the Washington Post for twenty six years. Who, along with his publisher and friend Katharine Graham was memorialized in the recent film “The Post.”
And may I say to that fine actor Tom Hanks, in the immortal words of the late Senator Lloyd Benson on another occasion, “I knew Ben Bradlee, Ben Bradlee was a friend of mine, and Tom, you are no Ben Bradlee.”
Hanks came close as did the late Jason Robards who played Bradlee in the film “All the President’s men.”
But the spark, the twinkle of the eye, a man who could terrify people with the gritty take-no-prisoners determination of a longshoreman and then charm them with the savoir faire of a Harvard educated Bostonian of the Main Line, that man is not easily captured by even the finest or actors.
So, let me show you Bradlee playing himself.
Upon his retirement from the Post in 1991, I did a lengthy “take out” on Bradlee for our then ABC News television program Prime Time Live.
Here’s the link; here’s the real “guy:”
Ben did not live the full one hundred years he wanted. He died in 2014, at age 93.
And what would he have thought of politics, the press and the Country of today?
I think he would have been appalled.
But he would have fallen to with a will to set it right. If he thought that George H. W. Bush lied about race not being involved in his nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U S Supreme Court, what do think he would have said about Donald J Trump?
Appalled, yes, but determined to jump in and help set things right again.
To the end, there was never any “quit in old Ben.”