Ah, Dan

Has it really been eight years?

In 2004, I was one of the writers for what turned out to be Dan Rather’s last election night. I remember sitting at my computer console during a break and becoming aware that someone had pulled up a folding chair and was sitting just behind me. I glanced over my shoulder.  It was Les Moonves.  He was hunched over, all by himself, just looking around, sipping bad cafeteria coffee from a styrofoam cup. He looked at me, I looked at him and I thought to myself: “This is too weird. You’re the CEO. Couldn’t they afford Starbucks?”  I wondered if I should say something, maybe just introduce myself, but thought better of it. He wouldn’t care anyway. I swiveled around and went back to scrolling through some more returns on my computer screen.  Eventually somebody came by, scooped him up, and walked him into the control room.

Those were the days.  Remember Dan-isms?:

“Do you hear that knocking…President Bush’s re-election is at the door.”

“This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex.”

“His lead is as thin as turnip soup.”

“This race is humming along like Ray Charles.”

“The presidential race is swinging like Count Basie.”

“This race is hotter than the Devil’s anvil.”

“Ohio becomes like a sauna for the two candidates. All they can do is wait and sweat.”

Anyway, all that came flooding back to me when I read about Dan’s appearance on MSNBC this morning:

“Something in my gut tells me that it’s going to be a good day for Romney,” Rather said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But as a reporter, you don’t report your gut. The polls all indicate, yes, Obama, he has several paths to victory, Romney has only one. But don’t taunt the alligator until after you cross the creek.”

Good advice.  I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I’ll keep it in mind the next time I encounter an alligator. Or a creek.

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