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The Character of Optimism
New York Times ^ | 7/14/08 | William Kristol

Posted on 07/14/2008 1:36:19 AM PDT by MartinaMisc

The late Tony Snow — how odd it is to write “late” before Tony’s name, and how sad — was an editorial writer and columnist, the host of “Fox News Sunday” for seven years and of a radio talk show for three, and a speechwriter in the White House of the first president Bush and press secretary for the second. We were twice colleagues (at the first Bush White House and at Fox), and throughout our two decades together in Washington compatriots and friends.

I could easily dilate on Tony’s impressive achievements in journalism and government, and on the remarkable abilities and manifold talents that made his professional accomplishments possible.

But I’ll remember Tony Snow more for his character than his career. I’ll especially remember the calm courage and cheerful optimism he displayed in his last three years, in the face of his fatal illness.

For quite a while now, optimism has had a bad reputation in intellectual circles. The fashionable books of my youth — and they are good books — were darkly foreboding ones like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984.” Young conservatives of the era were much taken by Whittaker Chambers’s gloomy memoir, “Witness.” We who read Albert Camus — and if you had any pretensions to being a non-Marxist intellectual, you read Camus — loved the melancholy close of his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

The basic attitude one derived from these works was that pessimism is deeper than optimism, and existential angst more profound than cheerful confidence. This attitude remains powerful, perhaps dominant, among many thoughtful people today — perhaps especially among conservatives, reacting against a facile liberal belief in progress.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: kristol; tonysnow; tribute

1 posted on 07/14/2008 1:36:20 AM PDT by MartinaMisc
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To: MartinaMisc

Nicely said. What an amazingly beautiful man was Tony. So rare and a great example to all of dignity, grace and class. I will miss him very much.

2 posted on 07/14/2008 2:21:04 AM PDT by Irishgirl
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To: MartinaMisc

Tony Snow was a prize. His faith in us, and in our country, was boundless. He always knew we could pull ourselves out of any problem, be it foreign or domestic. He has, as Brit Hume said, not only taught us how to live, but how to die.

We will miss your many virtues, Mr. Snow, but enjoy your well deserved rest. My most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved wife and children.

3 posted on 07/14/2008 2:35:06 AM PDT by singfreedom
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To: Irishgirl; singfreedom; Bahbah
Amen and amen.

I still can't help but to think about the Snowflake threads and Tony's interaction with us on them. He was one hell of a man.

4 posted on 07/14/2008 1:16:49 PM PDT by rdb3 (Upward, onward, beyond...)
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To: rdb3

Bill Kristol did a great job here. Having a great man for a subject certainly helps.

5 posted on 07/14/2008 1:30:15 PM PDT by Bahbah (Typical white person-Snow white)
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