Saturday, June 14, 2008
Sunday Mornings Will Never Be The Same Without Tim Russert
What if, for the last 17 years, you met with the same friend every Sunday morning for an hour brunch, and then suddenly and unexpectedly, that friend passed away? That's how I felt when I heard the news about Tim Russert passing away on Friday.
In the last 17 years, it was a rare Sunday that I missed Meet the Press, and I will miss my Sunday morning get together with Tim Russert greatly. Think about it...how many friends have you spent an hour with every week for the past 17 years? I've spent more time with him than most of the people in my life, so even though I never met him in person, I certainly felt like I knew him, that he was a friend, and an important component to my life each week. Now he's gone.
Being a Libertarian, I appreciated how Tim Russert tended to be tough on all politicians, not in a mean spirited way, but simply by being prepared about his guests and topics, making it very difficult for a politician to talk out of the side of his or her mouth and skirt around an issue. Few commentators had the cache' and respect that Russert had, so he was in the unique position that he could be tough and still have guests come back time and time again. Politicians couldn't say, "Let's skip Meet the Press because I know Russert will ask the tough questions." They knew he'd ask the tough questions, but they couldn't take a pass on such a key forum.
Tim Russert was known and respected, not just as a journalist, but also as a good family man of character and principle. (It makes one contemplate what others will have to say about us when we pass on.) He often said his secret to life was simply to, "Work hard, laugh often and keep your honor." The world would certainly be a better place if we all lived by that simple creed, and from what I can tell, Tim Russert did.
To get a small sampling of why I liked Tim Russert so much, watch this montage of him asking Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and others if they'll ever run for President...
There was never a good time for Tim Russert to leave us, but if he had to be taken, what better timing than Father's Day weekend? He wrote two wonderful books about his father and fatherhood in general. I have to confess that I never really thought about Father's Day much. It never seemed to have the punch of Mother's Day to me, but for the first time, with Tim Russert's passing, this day has some impact and meaning to me, and I suspect might from now on. I'm sure many of you know what I mean.
Here's a nice tribute to Tim Russert from Bruce Springsteen...
58 was far too young to lose such a great man. Sunday mornings may never be the same, but then, either will the lives of many of the people that Tim Russert touched.