Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Well done, Guv'nah

I've never been a fan of governors, really. I imagine it has a lot to do with those I've had. I grew up in NY and blame Cuomo's state tax policies for reducing towns like Rochester and Syracuse into post-industrial wastelands with soaring unemployment. When I relocated to Washington, I liked Gary Locke alright, but he was followed by a thrice-recounted election that put that paragon of all inaction associated with Democrats, Christine Gregoire, into office, where she sat motionless for her first term. And though she won re-election with comparable ease, it was after one of the most bumbling, directionless campaigns I've ever seen (she would have lost if not for Obama, I believe).

From Huey Long through Ronald Reagan and Ahnahld right up to and including Sarah Palin, the office of state governor seems to attract a special brand of douchebaggery.

But, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich takes the friggin' cake. Or, have you been absent from this news cycle? I heard it all over Air America this afternoon, and found it quickly on HuffPo once I arrived home.

Well done, Rod. Way to smear your own party through your very affiliation. Extortion, pay-to-play politics, an attempt to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.

And now it looks likely that his corruption will lead to a special election for Obama's seat, instead of a Democratic apppointment. How disposed to putting a Dem in that seat are Illinois voters likely to be while they're following the continuing investigation of Blagojevich.

I actually can see just one tiny sliver of silver in the dark cloud over Illinois. Perhaps this, combined with Obama's willingness to veer away from prescribed "progressive" politics (see: Cabinet) and his stated goal of ending partisanship, will help lead all of us away from party politics. Because, when it comes right down to it, Dems make just as good criminals as the Elephants do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet the Press Meets New Host

As reported here (and broken by the Huffington Post) on Tuesday, Dec. 2, David Gregory will become the permanent moderator of “Meet the Press.” NBC News officially made the announcement on Sunday morning.

The network used the appearance of President-Elect Barack Obama on Sunday's program to name Mr. Gregory, who will start next week. Tom Brokaw, the interim moderator, formally introduced the new host at the end of his interview with President-Elect Obama.

Mr. Brokaw announced that this Sunday would be his last as what he called “the temporary moderator” filling in for his longtime friend, Mr. Russert, who died of a heart attack in June, and praised Mr. Gregory as both a great journalist and personal friend.

Mr. Gregory called the appointment “an incredible honor,” and promised to follow Mr. Russert’s advice to “hold leaders accountable.” He added, “It’s all about preparation” and said he would take on the job “with great purpose.”

A personal note here about Mr. Gregory: I had the pleasure of working with him in the mid-90s before his assignment to the White House and the meteoric rise to his career. He was an occasional substitute host for Chris Matthews on what was then called "Politics with Chris Matthews" on CNBC (before it became "Hardball" and moved over to MSNBC). Along with Tim Russert, I considered him a fair, hard-working journalist. He was always respectful toward members of the crew and took care to personally thank everyone at the end of each live show.

He also had an endearing, comedic propensity for tripping over camera and audio cables, as well as the assorted detritus of television studios in general, even though they were secured to the floor with gaffer tape. We always chuckled and passed it off on his oversized foot---Mr. Gregory is upwards of 6'5" and possesses at least a 14 shoe size. It's hard to navigate studio materiel with snow shoes, you know.

(sources: NY Times, AP)