I was too shocked and too sad yesterday to post anything about my friend Tim Russert's sad passing, but I'll try today. One thing that made Tim so special was that, while he was tough and knowing about politics, he was never cynical. He had heroes in his political life and saw politics as an essentially good thing with a need for heroes, as rare as they may be. Tim was also different in that he was once a very good operative himself, so he understood the culture of politics from the inside. Tim liked politicians and from his operative's experience he was able to view them in more dimensions than the average journalist. From that greater understanding came greater insight, which combined with his ferocious work ethic earned him such well-deserved respect. Tim will be missed in many ways. He was a great friend to many, a mentor to scores more, an inspiring father, and the beloved Knute Rockne of NBC's Washington bureau. He was also the tallest sentry standing guard at civility and seriousness' weary gate against the encroaching barbarity of cable TV excess. Hopefully that gate will hold. Tim would want it that way.
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