Who thought we’d ever see this?

Published 11:50 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

In the wall-to-wall coverage of first the Democratic and then the Republican National Convention there has been, in my mind, something decidedly missing: The commentary of NBC’s Tim Russert, who dropped dead of a heart attack in June. No one could possibly love politics more than the former moderator of Meet the Press.

And, oh! how he would have loved these past two weeks.

This year’s politicians are so good, I’ve found myself cheering for both sides.

When Sen. Ted Kennedy, currently being treated for a brain tumor, rallied his strength to fly to Denver and address the Democrats, you couldn’t help but admire his stamina. The cameras kept flashing images of his two famous nieces, Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver, both of whom were moved to tears. There was a sense that we might not see this Lion of the Senate in this role again, that this one would go down in the history books.

When Beau Biden, in his introduction of his father, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, shared the story of the tragic death of his mother, I was blinking back tears. When he implored us to “Be there in November for my dad, like he’s always been there for me,” I was with him – and that was before I learned that a Covington County native helped craft the speeches for both Bidens.

The next night was Barrack Hussein Obama’s. What a speaker. What promises. A week later, I don’t remember the specifics of his speech, but I remember that he promised to close government programs of the 50s and 60s that “no longer work” and he repeated his mantra: change; change; change.

This week I tuned in to see watch the female phenom who had media tongues wagging – Sarah Palin, John McCain’s choice of a vice presidential running mate. Whether you like her politics or not, you have to admit she wowed a party that has not embraced women as leaders, delivering a well-crafted speech with poise and grace … and in high heels.

By the time I got home for the replay of Sen. McCain’s acceptance speech Thursday, I was worn out with speeches. But again I heard that word: change.

Critics have said that Obama and Palin don’t have the experience to qualify for the jobs they seek. I ask you: Who does?

Sen. Obama was 150 days (that’s five months) into his freshman term in Washington when he announced his candidacy for president. Prior to that, he was a state senator.

Gov. Palin took office in December 2006. Two years isn’t very long, but truth be known, she has more executive experience that the other three candidates on the presidential/vice presidential tickets combined. My liberal media friends say she’ll quickly stumble and become yesterday’s news. My conservative friends think she’s great.

Me? I’m loving watching the whole process. I think we’re enamored with the idea of change until the changes start to affect us; then we want our same old government programs and funding in place.

I think I know what Russert would say if he were still with us. With an African American leading one ticket and a woman on the other, he’d quote his dad and say, “What a country.”

Makes me proud to be an American.