Saturday, July 12, 2008
Tony Snow, 1955-2006
Tony Snow is dead. I send my best wishes to his family and friends. I am neither, of course, and unlike most people I write obituaries about, I wasn't a fan, either.
Snow was the best of the four press secretaries Bush had. Ari Fleischer had whatever psychological disease Dick Cheney has. He actually enjoys lying. Scott McClellan was completely overmatched and it was pathetic watching him. Dana Perino should be on TV, attractive and stupid. Snow was a good looking guy and not an idiot.
The problem was that Tony Snow thought the job of press secretary was about Tony Snow. He still had the attitude of a TV star, which he was on Fox News Sunday. He was the first press secretary in history to travel the country campaigning for Republican candidates while he held the job that is supposed to be about letting the public know what the executive branch is doing and why they are doing it. I don't think his actions should be illegal in this matter. You would think that common decency would preclude a person from acting this way, but common decency is in short supply in Washington, and among Republicans it appears to be close to extinct.
Many published obits will mention what a swell guy he was. I honestly do not give two cents about that. I mention the swell guy stuff in obits when I think someone was actually competent and honest like Bill Walsh, or when I had some personal contact with someone, like local newsman Pete Wilson. It's icing on the cake. Tony Snow's cake was rancid, the continuous defense of the indefensible. If I have any human feeling for him at all, it's out of the the simple and selfish reason that a guy six months older than I am died from disease. Whatever I think of how he lived his life, it ended too soon.
Who knows? If he had lived longer, he might have repented. Stranger things have happened.