Thursday, November 15, 2012

Luke, It's Not That They're Too Damned Old, It's That You're Too Damned Young.

 So, Luke, remember your dad, Tim Russert?  Let's say he's sitting in a press room where House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is taking questions after announcing that she's staying put and is really excited about the next term, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  Let's say he notices that she isn't alone up there on that podium; he sees there are maybe a dozen women who hold seats in the House of Representatives.  They're standing behind her.

Your dad has a chance to ask her a question, because he is, after all, Tim Russert.  (And you are his son, which seems to be the only reason you are that close to that podium, getting ready to ask your own important question. Let's try and remember that as we spend a few minutes talking here.  It'll go down much easier if you know where I'm coming from.)

 Your dad, Tim, knows that almost nothing got done in the House for the four years Barack Obama held office, thanks to a Republican pledge to stop him in his tracks before he can ever get close to--horror of horrors--re-election.  Nancy Pelosi is now the House minority leader.  Two years ago, she was the House majority leader.  She is going into at least another two years in the minority, and she's doing it willingly. 

Your dad's question would almost surely center on what she thinks the Democrats can accomplish, given the stubborn intransigence of the opposition.  After the President's solid win, in which more than half of the voters spoke on his behalf, will it be easier now to work with the Republicans? 

I'm guessing that, or something close to it, would be his question.  What I KNOW he wouldn't be asking is this question.  Your question:

"Mrs. Pelosi ... some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having younger leadership. It hurts the party in the long term. What's your response?"

Oh, my.  Luke.  Luke, Luke, Luke.  You didn't.

You did.

 The shit has already hit the fan big time, as you know, so there's no use in my telling you what a dumb--really dumb--question that turned out to be.  Did you notice the women behind her?  They were laughing at you.  Then they were yelling at you.  Then they were laughing at you.  It was not your finest moment.

But you persisted.  Even in the face of the laughing, the catcalls, after Ms. Pelosi suggested you wouldn't ask the same question of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, you went on:
"No, excuse me," you said. "You, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn, you're all over 70. Is your decision to stay on prohibiting younger members from moving forward?" 

I didn't know until this all came about that Nancy Pelosi is 72 years old.  From my vantage point--three years her senior--that doesn't seem old, but to you, still so wet behind your ears, it must seem ancient.

I understand that could be a problem since you are so young and inexperienced, but, honey, I'm here to tell you that your question screams "amateur".  You never, ever suggest to a woman she might be too old to do a job that men as old or older are doing or have done.  Especially a woman as smart and as vibrant as Ms. Pelosi.  Did you see any signs of incapacity up there?

So, come on, would you ask McConnell that same question?  No, you wouldn't, and you know it. Because Mitch would first terrify you with his burning eyes and then he would eat your head.

But even after all the fuss, you had to go on pretending you were right.  Later on, you tweeted this"While Pelosi laughed off my Q as age-ist, many House Ds will privately gripe it hurts caucus that all 3 leaders are 70+."

Right now, Luke, there are 28 Senators who are over 70 years old and 53 members in the House. An even larger percentage are in their 60s, which, of course, then hopefully leads to their 70s.  Who's griping again?  Can you name names?

You screwed up and it isn't the first time.  You're known in rapidly growing circles as the poster child for nepotism.

Luke and Tim Russert

You're not ready for this, and everybody but you and your keepers knows it.  You got this job because of your last name and that's not good enough.  You're not good enough.  You're still there because the people who look the other way in order to keep you on the payroll loved and admired your dad.

He wouldn't have wanted this.

Do the right thing now, Luke.  Find another line of work.  You're only 27.  There's something out there that you'll be good at.  This isn't it.

(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Open Salon)


  1. Well said. I was just appalled when I saw this yesterday. He owes her an apology.

    I tried having a political discussion with one of my young right wing cousins. He was asking me questions, I was responding calmly and reasonably. I mentioned Hillary running in 2016. His comment? "Hillary won't win because she looks like an old witch." He was sweet enough to add a smiley face after that.

    Conversation over. I said that as a woman, I find that remark offensive, and I will no longer discuss politics with him as long as he feels the need to make such inane remarks. Of course, he also wondered why liberals seem to want Palin to run so much, because she is obviously a conservative. So I'm thinking he might not be the sharpest tool in the shed in that regard.

    These youngsters are pretty clueless sometimes, aren't they?

  2. Ha, Beth. I think it'll only get worse now that Obama has won handily. They can't STAND it!

    Luke Russert is a kid in a job too big for him. It's embarrassing, and NBC ought to forget about whose kid he is and look at his work. It's a mess, and this latest gaffe should be the nail in his journalistic coffin.

    Glad to see that Rachel Maddow wasn't afraid to show the video last night. I haven't seen anybody else talking about it on NBC or MSNBC. Haven't checked CNN yet.

    The whole thing is pretty appalling but Luke is having fun with it on Twitter. He still sees nothing wrong so I'm guessing he wasn't called into anybody's office over it.

  3. What I especially liked in Pelosi's reply was that she said he should remember that he had to give her an extra 14 years because, for that duration of her life, she had taken time away from work/career to have and raise children (implying rightly that her male colleagues did not do that). That would make her, in career terms, 58. Some days, the misogynists disgust me more than others.

    1. Amen to that, Anon. I should have included that part in my post. She said she wouldn't have traded being a full-time mom for anything, but there is truth in that she had to postpone her career. And look what she was able to accomplish, even with a late start!

      I think the misogynists got theirs this election period. At least some of them. Hopefully, the rest will think twice before they try to silence or diminish women again.


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