Friday Night Random

Just a couple of random thoughts before I start my wild weekend.

I was getting a little tired of Tim Russert. He’s the guy who started the school of broadcast journalism known as “Gotcha.” He’d bring some lying scumbag politician on his show and read him a quote from a speech he made six years ago at the commencement ceremony of the Idaho Skinhead Academy or some such, and then ask “Do you regret making that statement?” Better yet, he’d play the video, and then we’d all get to watch Tim’s victim squirm and wriggle, trying to put some kind of acceptable spin on it. Really, it was a miracle that anybody ever went on Meet The Press.

But the technique was so compelling that everybody on the teevee eventually came around to thinking there was no reason to discuss actual issues with actual newsmakers when it was so much more fun and telegenic to just hoist them on their own petards and watch them sputter in the wind. What Tim was doing was taking advantage of politicos who had not yet figured out that the times, they had a’changed, and there was no hiding anymore. Stuff you said to a racist crowd in the deep South was gonna get played back in New Hampshire, and right before the election, too. Everything was on tape, and modern technology made it all available to the producers at NBC. The problem, in my mind, was that everyone has said something stupid in their lives, and Tim generally didn’t bother making any distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. He tortured them both equally, and he usually let both off the hook at the end.

Still, I admit I watched the show every chance I got, and I’m sad that Russert is gone. I mean, he milked the Democratic primary as hard as all the other pundits, trying to make it seem as if there was really any suspense to it, but when it was over (after the Indiana primary) he was the first to just come out and say it was over. I could tell he was crestfallen about it, too, not because he didn’t like the way it turned out, but because he was enjoying the ride and he didn’t want it to end.

I can’t even remember who the hosts of Meet The Press were before Tim Russert, and I can’t imagine the show without him.


The concept of habeas corpus is the basis for a little thing I like to call “the rule of law.” Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld our right to have a legal proceeding before a civilian court whenever any part of our government wants to put us in jail. They have to say why they want to lock us up, and they have to prove their case. They can’t just lock us up because… well, just because. Let me rephrase that: Without habeas corpus, we got nuthin’.

The Bush Administration has been doing that whole detention thing without charges, hearings or evidence for six years now, and yesterday the Court smacked them down for it. But, of course, negative guy that I am, all I can think about is that four Supreme Court justices voted against the preservation of this precious right, which has been a sacred, untouchable part of Anglo-Saxon law for at least 500 years. That’s four votes out of nine.

We are one vote away from becoming a police state.

The next president will likely make the appointment that could change the balance, either in favor of the Constitution, or against it. So if you’re thinking you’re going to vote for McCain because of “the way Hillary was treated,” or because “there’s no difference between the two parties,” or because “the country isn’t ready for a black president,” or for the perfectly logical reason that Barack Obama is a Muslim, you might be really surprised at the way things look in this country in a few years.

As always, my heart beats only for you. Have a great weekend!

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7 Replies to “Friday Night Random”

  1. Hey Larry, I completely agree with your assessment of the professional Tim Russert. I never felt he was asking the *tough* questions, he was asking the *Gotcha* questions. But, he never did it in a mean spirited way. I stopped watching the show a few years ago. I wasn’t learning anything. Like you said, everyone says stupid things.

    But, I did have the opportunity to meet him in person a couple of times. And he really did radiate decency. I could tell he completely enjoyed every aspect of the political process and also just really loved being around people. He didn’t seem to have an arrogant bone in his body.

    The world is a very different place when decent people leave it.

  2. Blue Girl – To me, he was only the face on television, opposite, next to, before, and after all the other faces on television. It seems to me there used to be more marked differences between them. These days they’re marked more by how similar they are to each other. I mean no disrespect for the man, though, Just commenting on the public persona.

  3. I don’t know this Tim Russert style. I stopped watching the news after 2004. I barely could stomach it after 2000, but since Americans are so messed up in the heads, I left them to fend for themselves after 2004. I remember Tim the Terrier because it’s all I can given my refusal to subscribe to lies bought and sold by BushCo.

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