For more than 16 years, Sunday mornings were special – no matter where most of us lived, or what we were doing – If you love politics, you spent an hour with Tim Russert. If church was on the calendar – you went early or late, depending on which time zone you live in. Because Tim Russert mattered. His opinion mattered. The questions he asked delivered an ”every man” sensibility and had an insider’s acute sense of the truth playing out behind the scenes.
His guests were challenged to tell the truth. To explain policy. To justify their opinions. And Russert distinguished between their opinions and true facts, making sure those of us in our pajamas with that first cup of coffee knew that he was in our corner.
Russert came to the set armed with briefing books and a mind that was one part encyclopedia, one part BS meter, and one part steel trap. From presidents to senators, no one was treated with reverence. Only with respect. He kept them human and taught us all a little about our nation along the way.
What are we to do with our Sunday mornings now? Meet the Press is the longest running television program anywhere in the world. Mr. Russert would want us to keep learning, to strive for truth, and remember that maybe, just maybe, the Buffalo Bills will pull it out this year.
The next anchor of Meet the Press must meet Russert’s standards. There are only a handful of folks who love politics as much, know the American people so well, and are true believers that can heartily say, “What a country.”
Here are a few suggestions:
Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director
Chris Matthews, Hardball host
Mike Allen, Politico
Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News
This column was originally posted at the home of Heading Right Radio.