Today is Election Day, on which perhaps one of the most significant elections in many decades will be decided. Maybe we'll know who the next president will be before we go to bed, or maybe we'll have to wait until morning (or longer than that). Regardless, there will be a long road ahead of that man -- and a long road ahead of all of us.
I've been reflecting on the weeks and months leading up to today and feeling a sharp absence, that of Tim Russert.
I always relied on Tim Russert for the most objective and insightful political analysis anywhere in journalism. It was Tim whom I could count on to dispense with the partisan commentary and get to the root of an issue, ferreting out where a candidate stood. No small accomplishment in light of the incessant spin, especially in an election year.
Even though I faithfully watch Tom Brokaw moderate Meet the Press each Sunday morning, it still seems surreal that Tim Russert is gone. The realization hits me anew at the most unexpected times, not just on Sunday mornings.
I want so much to know what Tim Russert would think of all the events that have transpired over the course of this election cycle: the vice-presidential candidate selections, the debate performances, the handling of the economic crisis, the endorsements and advertisements. I wonder what questions he would have asked Sarah Palin (she couldn't have possibly turned down a request to appear on Meet the Press with Tim Russert!) and Joe Biden. I think about how he would have commented on the politics of the economic bailout. I consider what other details might have been discovered about the candidates if Tim Russert had been here, asking questions and getting answers.
Perhaps I'm assigning too much credit to his influence, but I have to wonder if it would have gotten as ugly as it has, if his voice of reason was still present. There simply isn't anyone as even-handed and objective who commands the same level of respect as Tim Russert did.
I see great potential in other NBC political analysts - Norah O'Donnell, David Gregory, and Chuck Todd, to name a few. I listen to them closely, with interest and respect. I look to the more biased commentators for entertainment, with a side of news. But where it comes to having the tenacity to extract answers from spin and facts from fluff, nobody is better than Tim Russert was.
Tonight I will eagerly watch the election results unfold. It will be more exciting than any sporting event and more momentous than any other election in my adulthood.
And I will be constantly reminded of how much I wish Tim Russert could see it too.
A brief PSA from The Parental is Political: Please, if you haven't already done so, go vote today. For many of us, it hasn't been that many years since we were granted the right to vote. Don't take that privilege for granted.
Julie is a former Air Force officer and professional project manager turned web writer. She spent four years at the Pentagon and five years in New York City, and her suburban life in Colorado seems pastoral by comparison. She's no political pundit, but she is an objective thinker in a sea of partisan propagandists. She writes for The Mom Slant, Cool Mom Picks, and is co-founder of The Parent Bloggers Network.
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