The interesting thing is that Tony Snow was just as kind, just as brilliant, just as much a champion for the underdog before he got cancer as he was afterwards. It is not the disease that made him. It only made us look at him and see who he was.
I first met Tony when he was a reporter for the Washington Times. He was fair but persistent and thoroughly honest. He was not impressed by White House spin which can often be outright lies, whether coming from a Republican or Democrat administration. As one of his few White House sources I tried to help him pursue his stories but he lacked the guile and aggressiveness of his rivals who would lie and manipulate back to get their information. I thought he was in the wrong profession, thought he should be heading up Mercy Corps.
He came into the Bush, Senior White House as I was leaving but I heard he was balm upon the troubled waters. It sounds like him. Of course, he would come back years later and do it again for George W. Bush too.
When I went through my days of infamy, as the taper of Bush the younger, he sensed there was more to the story. He understood all too well how complicated and dangerous Washington can be. So, over the objections of others, he had me on his television shows and once even asked me to sit in as a guest host for his radio program but I had a conflict and was unable to make it. It was a gesture I will never forget.
He never once asked for details, never once said, “Tell me what was really going on?”
He just knew, instinctively, that no one is all bad or all good, especially in Washington, D. C. and the stories the public thinks they know the best they usually know the least.
Vince Foster left us sadly. In his suicide note he called Washington politics a “blood sport.” In his own soft way, Tony Snow left us too. No suicide, of course, but a stress related disease nevertheless. Both men may have been better than their environment. We are certainly better knowing Tony Snow.
Blazac once wrote that kind men hide some earlier evil for which their life atones. If so, the life of Tony Snow has wiped it clean. Now, that the president has named a street after Tim Russert. Let him name one after Tony too.