Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tony Snow dead at 53

From Fox News:

Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, died Saturday after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.

A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend Tony Snow," President Bush said in a written statement. "The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character."

Snow died at 2 a.m. Saturday at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of "FOX News Sunday" and hosted "Weekend Live" and a radio program, "The Tony Snow Show," before departing in 2006.

"It's a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it's also a loss for the country," Roger Ailes, chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a "renaissance man."

As a TV pundit and commentator for FOX News, Snow often was critical of Bush before he became the president's third press secretary, following Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan. He was an instant study in the job, mastering the position — and the White House press corps — with apparent ease.

"One of the reasons I took this job is not only to work with the president, but, believe it or not, to work with all of you," Snow told reporters when he stepped into the post in 2006. "These are times that are going to be very challenging."

During a tenure marked by friendly jousting with journalists, Snow often danced around the press corps, occasionally correcting their grammar and speech even as he responded to their questions.

"Tony did his job with more flair than almost any press secretary before him," said William McGurn, Bush's former chief speechwriter. "He loved the give-and-take. But that was possible only because Tony was a man of substance who had real beliefs and principles that he was more than able to defend."

As he announced Snow as his new press secretary in May 2006, Bush praised him as "a man of courage [and] a man of integrity." Snow presided over some of the toughest fights of Bush's presidency, defending the administration during the Iraq war and the CIA leak investigation.

"I felt comfortable enough to interrupt him when he was BSing, and he kind of knew it, and he'd shut up and move on," Snow said.

His tenure at the White House lasted 17 months and was interrupted by his second bout with cancer.

I first became aware of Tony Snow when he would fill in for Rush Limbaugh. It didn't take me long to realize that the Limbaugh was much more filled with information and was much more fun to listen to when Snow was guest hosting than when Rush was there.

I bought a Sirius satellite radio so that I could listen to Tony's show, only to find out that he was on medical leave to take his cancer treatments (the first time I tried to tune in to the Laura Ingraham show she was also absent due to cancer - has the left found a new weapon in their war against any dissenting idea?) . However he was soon back behind the microphone and I learned to time my morning departure for the work day to coincide with his schedule.

When he announced that he was leaving radio to take a job in the White House I was sorry to see him go, but I (along with many others on the right) realized that the Bush administration desperately needed to improve its communication skills. I don't think that it is too much to say that if Mr. Bush has started his first term with Tony Snow as press secretary, and had retained him until now, that his approval numbers would not be at 31% (not quite twice the Democrat congress' 18% - according to the RCP average).

Mr. Snow's announcement that his cancer had returned told anyone who was familiar with the disease that his remaining time would be short.

America has lost a voice that it desperately needed as it teeters on the brink of a new dark age. The forces of the left have managed to cripple the nation's ability to survive as a free and prosperous nation (can you imagine any other time in American history when we wouldn't have already been drilling in ANWAR or off shore and can you imagine what Teddy Roosevelt would have already done to Iran). We need all the Tony Snows we can get if we hope to do what no nation in the history of the world has ever managed to do before, pull itself out of terminal decline and regain it's past golden age.

He will be missed.