The official announcement may not come until Sunday, but it appears that David Gregory has been tapped to permanently replace Tim Russert on Meet The Press.
Gregory is currently the host of MSNBC’s “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” a dreary collection of monotonous pundits that barely registers a blip in the ratings. Gregory is probably best known for agreeing to embarrass himself by pretending to be one of Karl Rove’s Pips in a performance that has been immortalized on YouTube.
But I wouldn’t worry too much about whether he has what it takes to fill the fabled shoes of Tim Russert. Mainly because the fable has exaggerated the girth of Russert’s footwear. For the most part, Russert simply stole from Jon Stewart the device of juxtaposing his subject’s recent contradiction with his previous lie. Except it was funnier when Stewart did it.
I, however, will never forget the role Russert played in advancing the goals of the Bush White House as described by former Cheney communications director, Cathie Martin (wife of soon-to-be ex-FCC chief Kevin Martin) when she testified at the trial of Scooter Libby. Her testimony included the following:
Option 1: “MTP-VP”, she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under “pro,” she wrote: “control message.”
“I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used,” Martin testified. “It’s our best format.”
In other words, it was a PR song and dance. Come to think of it, Gregory may be the perfect successor to Russert. So long as he can suppress the urge to shake his booty when presidential advisors are in the guest’s chair.