Tim Russert died at work on Friday. I'm sure that this is not news to most of you. I just wanted to comment on what a stand-up guy he seemed to have been. I say "seemed" because I never had the occasion to meet him. I run in South Georgia circles and he in Washington, D.C. and Buffalo, New York ones. If this were a Venn Diagram, there'd be no intersection. (For some funny Venn Diagrams, graphs, etc. check out Indexed.)
But, for some reason, just by having watched Mr. Russert on Meet the Press, I felt as if I knew him. He was very intimate. I'm sitting in my 'jammies drinking coffee and he's asking Hillary if she intends to run for President. (Incidentally, she said that she wouldn't.) He kept pressing, often with a smile on his face, to encourage a response to the question and not just some crazy spin-meistery crap. By the end, you knew if the person was perhaps a person you liked and respected, a person you should be "like whatever" about, or if s/he was a sleazy slime-ball. All the while Tim Russert was never anything but consummately polite. I was watching Today this morning and they said that he studied ALL WEEK for his interviews. His interviewees spoke of his vast knowledge on the subject(s) of the week, but he did not at all seem like a pinhead. Russert approached his work in a blue-collar sort of way that is part of why he seemed so relatable.
I will miss his big Irish face and his "Go Bills."
In a funny (at least to me) side bar, my daddy was growling at the TV, my sister reported, when TV news programs went into Tim-is-a-saint mode. Russert was chief of staff for Daniel Patrick Moynihan (big-time New York democrat-- strikes one, two, and three for my dad), so he could never be worth anything. Russert was a liberal through and through, according to him (even though DPM seems to have been pretty pragmatic, serving in the Nixon administration). I just had to laugh at this report. I thought that Russert was about as even-handed as a person could be. It is difficult to be hard on your side of the political fence and not completely brutal to those with opposing opinions, I would think. You could see tinges of Russert's opinion infrequently, but overall, I think he was pretty fair.
If it's Sunday, it's Tim Russert being missed on NBC's Meet the Press.