Thursday, October 12, 2006

Musings from DC, Part One

What's the difference between Congress and the Library of Congress?

At the Library of Congress, you're not allowed to lick the pages.
How do you separate the men from the boys on Capitol Hill?

With a crowbar.
What's the difference between a cactus and a caucus?

In a cactus, the pricks are on the outside.


Maybe it's just jealousy because I knew them when they were unknown and I still am, but I intensely dislike Tim Russert and Chris Matthews, the most famous, if not the best, television political pundits. (A pundit being someone famous for being famous who spouts conventional wisdom.)

Both guys were decent press secretaries for prominent legislators and, back in the day, pretty decent guys. But they now wear the phony mantle of "journalist," though I bet neither of them ever covered a cop shop or a school board meeting.

They used their minor celebrity to become major celebrities and have grown into the very people that real journalists love to puncture. And in so doing they have forgotten to listen to the people they are interviewing and follow up with killer questions.

And that is a prime symptom of "Potomac Fever," a form of "going native." They party with the people they cover, they become the stars of social events held in their honor, they talk about their favorite sports teams as if anyone cares, and Russert shows up to take his front-row dugout seat at only those games assured of having a big crowd. They write books about patriotism and family -- the fact that both started out as liberal Democrats notwithstanding. In fact, they politick more than the people they cover, with the payoff in dollars, not votes.

They have become the story, and as more and more people get wide-screen high-definition television sets, they will see the already large heads of Russert and Matthews transmogrify into their own pompous asses.

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