I hadn’t had so much fun since my last interrogation in prison camp.
– John McCain, at the end of his interview on Meet the Press
I didn’t watch Meet the Press last week. I have a SeasonPass to Tivo every show, and usually catch up with it Sunday afternoon. For whatever reason, I didn’t get around to it last week. Ms.Bux caught part of it live and said it was just a bunch of then sitting around talking about Hillary; no big guest or anything.
I watched the show posthumously this morning. It was just a bunch of them sitting around (‘the best political team in television,’ I think Russert claimed), but you could tell Mr. Russert was having just as much fun as if he was interrogating a Senator-candidate. It was just seven pundits around a table, but he led the discussion unlike anyone else on television — without animosity or cynicism, generally without an agenda (as much as anyone could be in that business), and with enthusiasm that seemed genuine and contagious.
I say that hesitantly, because the televised gushing for Tim Russert became uncomfortable after only about 15 minutes. I thought he was very good at what he did and seemed to be a pleasant, upstanding person; but I find it hard for presidential nominees, Presidents and Vice Presidents [who were subject to his probing and research], and everyone else and their brother in broadcasting and/or the DC-area to come out in the past two days and claim him as such a close friend. Maybe I’m too much of a cynic, but four hours of Matt Lauer (this morning) will do that to you…
I highly recommend the New Yorker obit; it doesn’t go over the top, and it’s about as fair and balanced as Mr. Russert himself:
Russert was defined as much by what he was not as by what he was. He was not lazy or lax, he was not an ideologue or a cynic. Beyond his family, Russert’s passion was politics, and he cared enough about the game to try to keep it, and its players, honest.