Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My first big "I Knew Him When"

I was a little taken aback to see this item this morning. It reminded me that age is creeping up on me.

Many years ago, when I covered Capitol Hill for the Washington Times, a young man began hanging around the press gallery. His name was Benjamin Domenech and he worked for a little known conservative magazine called Human Events. He struck me as earnest and ambitious. He carefully introduced himself to everyone he could get within hand-shake range and he seemed genuinely interested in what the older reporters had to say.

At some point, he prevailed on me to have him out for lunch. So naturally I took him to a bar on the Hill. I can't even precisely remember what we talked about, but he struck me as incredibly intelligent, thoughtful and well-educated. I figured he'd make a stir some day. Somehow, toward the end of the conversation, the subject of his age came up and he dropped the bombshell - he was all of 16. I knew he was young, but I had taken him for 20 or 21 - one of the army of earnest young college-age interns or newly minted grads that pack Washington. My complete astonishment (and his smile, which showed he was enjoying my bafflement) ensured that the kid's name was imprinted on my mind.

Somehow I lost track of him, though his name would occasionally drift through my head. So it was with a mix of surprise and, well, un-surprise, that I saw Ben has been tapped by the Washington Post to write a new conservative blog.

I won't pretend to agree with all of what Ben has to say ("Red Dawn" was a silly movie, not a conservative manifesto, Ben), and I am disappointed to see he worked with Michelle Malkin, who gives intellectual lightweights everywhere a bad name, but I can testify that Ben is a very smart, thoughtful young man and his blog may bear watching. At least he will be interesting.

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