June 14, 2008

We've been robbed

It isn't fair. And it's achingly sad.

The greatest presidential election in a generation, and we're supposed to experience it all without Tim Russert? Can we even have an election without him and have it seem real?

We've been robbed. Russert should have had another 20 years as perhaps the best guide, the best communicator, to the public of just what's going on, just what's at stake, in our nation's political life.

And it wasn't just Meet the Press. His standards were reflected throughout the media as he set the bar everyone else had to shoot for. Without his presence, what are the odds that the standards he espoused will survive?

Soon there'll be nothing left than blow-dried fops and preening news celebs delivering their vacuous product, oftentimes more gossip then journalism.

A bitter loss of one of the last of the stand-up guys, a real, genuine, American who held the best ideals of this country to be sacred, who never took himself too seriously, and perhaps most impressive, who led a life of true gratitude, with a boyish sense of true amazement at just how lucky he was to be a witness to history and to live through the history of the country he so clearly loved.

A real loss for honest and smart journalism and to the civic life and political discourse of our country.

Russert played a very important role in making politics more accessible and more interesting to the general public. Let's all hope, for our sakes, that others are able to be inspired to do the same.


At 6/14/2008 5:30 PM, Anonymous nooncat said...

I already miss Russert. Despite my past cavils against him, I still found him much more watchable and cerebral than most of the suits on network news. He truly earned the respect accorded to him.

At 6/15/2008 9:56 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Russert was certainly a creature of D.C. conventional wisdom, and as such didn't really uncover much that was new, despite the aura of being in touch with the average Joe.

And the fact that he actively promoted and traded on the fact that he loved his Dad, etc. could get a little grating, as well as opening doubts as to whether Tim himself might be a bit of the phony he said his Dad Big Russ would condemn politicians as.

I don't doubt his sincere love and appreciation of his Dad and family in the slightest, but not many people make it almost a crusade to demonstrate it in public and make millions off that fact.

But on the whole, I think Russert was a good guy, and certainly a rare treasure in his position at NBC.

It's doubtful anyone else will come along that had his career path, having a law degree and the ability to think like a lawyer, becoming so knowledgable and experienced by being directly involved at the top levels of Capitol Hill, going into the media industry not as an on-air personality but as an executive, then almost reluctantly finding himself in front of the cameras, it all combined to give him a unique perspective that served the public well.

At 6/15/2008 3:38 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

LOL, that is funny. "blowdried fops" . You are right! Russert was good. He asked good questions and he was a class act.
I remember in 2005 when Barack Obama was on "Meet the Press" and he told Tim Russert that he would serve out his full Senate term. At least one of them was honest.

At 6/16/2008 12:02 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I can't count the number of times I've heard Russert's closest friends say that all Russert wanted was for politicians to be straight. If they changed their minds, then just say so.

So you obviously recall when Russert asked Obama directly whether it would be fair to say he was considering a run for president and Obama answered bluntly, "Yes."

Russert respected that far more than those who try to pretend they didn't change their minds as circumstances changed.

And... even you Nico are not able to read people's minds, as far as I know.

How can you state flatly that Obama was lying when he said he had no intention of running for president at that time?

They've played clips of Russert dogging all sorts of pols as to whether they want to run, and even Hillary said over and over that she had "no intentions" of running.

The fact is that NO politician ever says they want to run on someone else's schedule. They wait until THEY want to announce.

That's probably why Russert seemed so obsessed with dogging people and asking them 45 different ways whether they're going to run.

No pol ever wants to say so, even if they do intend to.

First of all, if the person is a governor or senator or other elected official, how do you think it would play with their constituents if they announced they were going to run for president like 9 months ahead of time?

You simply can't do that.

At any rate, I think you're the only person who still even recalls Obama saying he didn't intend to run, much less that cares. ;-)

At 6/16/2008 1:08 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

You are right, I feel like the only person who remembers and the only person who cares. Check the record: Obama said that he would serve out his full Senate term. It is a fact. If I had one wish in politics, it is that he does that. Just picture it~ January of 2009, Barack Obama comes back to the highways and byways of Illinois and gets re-acquainted with the people whom he was elected to represent. It sounds far-fetched, but I can dream can't I?

Illinois constituents should feel cheated anyway, as we have only really had one functioning Senator on the job anyhow. He has probably spent more time in Africa than he has spent in Southern Illinois. He's been all over New Hampshire, but I'll bet he's never been to New Boston. Compare that to the great Paul Simon who went everywhere in Illinois and even though he was somebody in the Senate, he never lost touch with his roots.

At 6/17/2008 4:19 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I feel your pain Nico, but of course even you realize that when you have a political star like Obama, he really belongs to the country as a whole, not just to our state.

And he's certainly not the first senator to leavea his senator duties on the back burner as they pursue higher office.

But hell, his staffers are bright and capable, and they're probably doing a fine job of responding to constituents in his absence.

And don't forget this important fact. You may feel stung now, but which do you think is in a better position to bring home the bacon for Illinois, a rookie senator?

Or the President of the United States?


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