What Matters to Tim Russert


Brendan Nyhan made a chart out of Tim Russert's interview with Rudy Giuliani which helps illustrate why liberals and conservatives alike often find watching Meet the Press to be a frustrating experience. Here's Rudy bringing some new notions to the table about foreign policy -- namely that the country needs to double-down on the High Bush Doctrine policies of 2002-2003 -- and all Russert wants to talk about are scandals.

If you think Giuliani is a profound and original thinker on national security issues and that his decision to associate himself with Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, Norm Podhoretz, etc. reflects well on him, Russert seems to be denying Rudy his chance at a fair hearing.

If, by contrast, you see the Giuliani campaign as chock-a-block with lunatic fringe ideas, Russert is allowing the true danger here to go essentially unexamined. As Brendan puts it, "there are certainly serious ethical questions about Guiliani. But these pale in comparison to questions about how he would conduct himself in office, particularly when it comes to foreign policy." He has no experience with foreign policy whatsoever, and has surrounded himself with an advisory team that contains almost no experience as practitioners and whose ideas are far outside of the mainstream and were overwhelmingly discredited by events in Bush's first term.