The announcement that Tony Snow will return to the White House is great news on many levels. I hadn’t really believed this would happen because it is a big sacrifice on Snow’s part, partly because radio shows are difficult to launch and difficult to build and Tony’s show had gotten off to a successful start and partly because the grind of the White House in that job in particular is quite tough. And there’s the pay cut and time away from the family.
I think Tony Snow took the job because he’s a patriot asked by the president to serve in a time of war. (See Mark Daniels’ comment on this as well.) I can’t think of anyone saying no to the president when thousands of American troops are in harm’s way and the task is a big one. That’s a little old-fashioned, I suppose, but Tony Snow brings some very old fashioned virtues to his new job.
Including especially good humor and sharp intelligence. Perhaps the best thing about this appointment is the very hostile WH press corps is suddenly confronted by an individual who has already out achieved them in the world of media, which means he knows their tricks and he knows their vanities. There are some smart folks in the WH press room, but there are plenty of pretty faces as well, and they know that Snow is a whole lot smarter than they are.
I also think the daily work of preparing for and hosting a three hour talk show on radio as well as the television work will make Snow supremely confident on many issues that others have never covered. One of the joys of doing what we do is that it allows us read widely and constantly, to interview experts and opposities, and, crucially, to practice the hardest words for anyone in Washington to say: “I don’t know.”
We confront churlish folks and gentle but ill-informed folks, and passion and bigotry and patriotism and honor and every other sort of American virtue and emotion every day. There isn’t much the WH press can throw at Snow that he hasn’t aleady fielded afew hundred times.
Tony Snow is going to be a tremendous asset to the president and thus the country. I admire his willingness to serve, as should even his greatest opponents.