Petition to Rename Buffalo's Airport after Tim Russert

18 Jun

Thanks to WBEN for letting me promote this in peak drive-time, live with John and Susan. To sign the petition, click here.

Some have criticized this as being disproportionately too generous for someone who was just doing his job, or was just a mere journalist, and I guess there has been some Russert fatigue setting in among some. Some suggest he shouldn’t receive this honor because he’s a liberal Democrat. Or because he was too easy on George Bush. Or because he’s not an aviator.

All of those criticisms miss the point.

The point isn’t that he was a well-respected journalist. The point isn’t that his was the political junkie’s program of record on Sunday morning. The point isn’t his politics or anything like that.

With Tim Russert, you have a favorite son; a man who never forgot where he came from and was a tireless, vocal ambassador for his hometown, its past glory, and its future potential. When people turned on Meet the Press during football season, they got a reminder of Tim’s roots with his “Go Bills” signoff. When the Sabres were in the playoffs, he expressed his support for them. He wrote a book about growing up in Buffalo that shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. He helped to promote Buffalo Old Home Week/Homecoming.

Orange County named its airport after an actor, John Wayne. Liverpool’s airport is named after a singer/songwriter, John Lennon. John Wayne was an Iowan who lived in Orange County. John Lennon was a favorite son, like Russert. It beats naming a stretch of Route 20, and is, I think, more appropriate than putting his name up in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

17 Responses to “Petition to Rename Buffalo's Airport after Tim Russert”

  1. Chaz June 18, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    First you save Santa’s Park, now this. You are the absolute embodiment of civic involvement.

    Instead of trying to whore off his name for your own popularity, why don’t you try to behave more like Tim Russert and a real Buffalonian.

    It is despicable that you would use Tim Russert’s death for your own sick purposes.

  2. Buffalopundit June 18, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Chaz – what sick purposes?

  3. Richard Strongbridge June 18, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    You want to see sick purposes, research Rep. Darrell Issa and his comments on the House floor yesterday.

  4. Josh June 18, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    I’ve read this over a few times and I fail to see how this anything but a request to honor a beloved Buffalonian.

  5. Mike In WNY June 18, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    A government subsidized entity, BNIA, shouldn’t be spending money to rename the airport.

  6. Ike June 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    Lohn Lennon is a bit more famous than Tim Russert…I don’t think we should name the airport Tim Russert Airport anymore than we should name it Goo Goo Dolls Airport, or Johnny Reznik International

    There’s just a level of IMPORTANCE that goes with having an international airport named after you, and tim russert doesn’t meet it.

  7. I used to live in Buffalo June 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    I think naming the airport after Russert or, failing that, a street or something, is entirely appropriate, and to accuse the Buffalo Pundit of somehow grandstanding by suggesting this is ridiculous. And the way you put it, “whore off his name”, is disgusting and entirely inappropriate.

    I certainly don’t agree with a lot of views I see posted on this blog (I find the whole concept that the Buffalo Rochester Toronto region, assuming TO even considers itself a part of such a thing, I highly doubt it, somehow rivaling Northern CA hard to digest and at the leading edge of ridiculous), but Buffalo honoring TR with an airport, building or what-have-you is a great idea.

  8. hank June 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    Whoa there Alan—I’m not questioning your integrity or intelligence.
    nor will I be condescending.

    Honor Tim Russert? Absolutely–and for EVERY reason you gave.


    If you were advocating to name it for Jimmy Griffin–(and I noticed NO SUCH MOVEMENT to name anything after him in the light of his recent demise)–I would agree that though I disagreed with every damn thing he did, he was a leader IN THE CITY, OF THE CITY. and would have not even bothered to comment if someone would have wanted to name the airport after him. I know Griffin was before your time in Buffalo.

    Ike puts it best. Tim was everything you say he was, and regardless of how I felt about his politics I respected him. But he just doesn’t rise to the level of having the airport named after him–or the bus station or the railroad terminal. .02 given and out.

  9. Chris Smith June 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    I think its funny that everyone perceives “the airport” naming to be something of incredible fucking significance and Russert not “being worthy”. It’s a place where a lot of people fly in and out of and it cites our favorite son, big deal. Are we saving the naming rights for someone more important or something? Fucking hell…

  10. dougk June 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    i don’t care who’s idea it is, it’s a good one and should be acted on…someone, help me now, other than revising a few local/thruway traffic signs, plus on-airport signage, what’re the expenses incurred?

  11. Chris Smith June 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Further petition suggestions:

    – The Maria Whyte West Side Wailing Wall

    – The Brian Higgins Buffalo Niagara International Airport – The runways are pinstriped!

    – The Wolf Blitzer Memorial BuffaloPlace Information Kiosk

    – The Mesi Center For Head Trauma at Buffalo General Hospital


  12. Chris Smith June 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    – Butch Holt Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good

    – Chuck Swanick’s Memorial Sweater Exhibit at BECHS

  13. Starbuck June 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    Other airport naming examples are New Orleans (for Louis Armstrong) and Oklahoma City (for Will Rogers).

    While I support the airport idea I still it weakens the case to say it should be done only because of his Buffalo boosterism insist everything else is irrelevant.

    To me, it’s first Russert’s accomplishments though his life long hard work, dedication, ambition in the best senses of the word, fairness, decency, his love of family, America, and our system of governing ourselves. He set a great example for anyone, so of course his hometown should feel pride about him growing up here and achieving recognition astthe pinnacle of such a competitive and important profession. Boosting Buffalo and our teams were nice icing on the cake.

    Toward who else would we see not only mourning, but such deep expressions of respect and admiration from so wide a philosophical range of political and opinion leaders from President Bush to Ralph Nader – on and on, countless truly prominent figures as well as thousands posting similar expressions on the web. It’s really extraordinary.

    As Joe Crangle said in the News this morning: “It’s hard to find another Buffalonian that left the reputation he left behind,” Crangle said. Drawing a comparison to a 19th century Buffalo mayor and two-time president of the United States, he said, “You’d have to go back to Grover Cleveland.”

  14. Eisenbart June 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    How much would this cost?

  15. Becky June 18, 2008 at 8:58 pm #

    There was a proposal to name the baseball park after Jimmy Griffin. It’s sure a lot catchier than Pilot Field, Northamericare, or Dunn Tire.

    I would think most of the expense in renaming anything would be in the housekeeping things, like notifying other aviation agencies officially, and changing the stationary and everything else that requires the name to be correct for reference.

  16. whatevs June 19, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    After I signed the petition, I renamed every important thing “Tim Russert” in my house.

    My dog’s name is now Tim Russert.

    Tim Russert memorial toaster-oven.

    Tim Russert the beer coozie.

    and the Russert model remote control.

    I don’t see why this is such a big deal. It’s an airport, people. And a simple tip of the hat to a decent guy that cared about his hometown.

  17. Dan Stapel June 19, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    I live in northwestern New Jersey. I guess that because I do not live in Buffalo that my opinion really does not matter that much. That being said I believe that you have a great opprotunity to show how you feel about one of your native sons. Tim Russert was respected as a man, father and journalist. I think renaming your airport would be a very nice way to show your respect for this fine man.

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