When I jumped on the Tubes this morning, carefree and excited to see what was happening in the world, I learned Tony Snow had died after a long struggle with colon cancer. I knew he was ill; I knew he was being treated; I knew he was fighting. I did not know he was losing.
As one who has come to political activism later rather than sooner, I will remember Tony as the standard against which other Press Secretaries and Spokesmen will be evaluated. Likely because of his backgroound in the MSM, Tony always came across as unruffled, even when dealing with the most delicate of issues. He never stumbled or faltered even when faced with pointed questions and pressure. And, in a delightful and delicious turn of events, he wasn’t there to simply take whatever undeserved slap Helen Thomas or anyone else in the Press Corps decided to hand him. In a very Rumsfeldesque manner, the Snowman fired back on occasion and to great effect.
So many people felt he had sold out when he went to the White House. I never agreed. I missed his analysis and questions on TV. But I felt he was an excellent choice for the President because, of all the others who made his short list at the time, none had the charisma or the character of Tony Snow. Perhaps I’m naive. But if Tony said it, for me, it was so. It was sort of like listening to Clancy’s Jack Ryan. You knew there was something else going on that Tony wasn’t saying but this was Tony! If he was playing it close to the vest, there was a reason, and that was good enough for me.
Not very hard-headed, cynical journalist of me, I know. But that can be such a very draining place to live. Tony did not simply speak on behalf of the President. He brought dignity and honor back to the office he held and the one he represented. It was easy to believe you were getting the word from a friend, not a paid hack. It’s because we were. I have little doubt there will be the usual venom from the Left at his passing. I won’t read it. I don’t think Tony would either. He had too much class.
My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children. To us, Tony Snow was a friend. To them, he was so much more. I’m just a year younger than the man who died this morning. I cannot imagine the anguish his family must be feeling now. Please pray for them. Tony was a man of faith and would want that.
No man is indispensable. Tony Snow can and will be replaced. But I don’t measure the value of a man based on how difficult it will be to replace him. I judge his value based on how delightful it is to remember him. And Tony Snow is very, very valuable. RIP Tony … and godspeed.
Tony Snow, RIP at Leslie Carbone
Tony Snow: RIP by Erick at RedState