I feel barely qualified to add a Tony Snow tribute here, seeing as I had exactly one personal interaction with the man and it was over the phone at that. But even in my brief interaction, I could tell he was an uncommonly thoughtful man.
Further, I suppose it is (now) an unfortunate coincidence that the one time I spoke to him was just a few months ago, when I called him to get a comment on the occasion of WFB’s passing. Here’s what he had to say about Buckley:
“Bill Buckley made tremendous contributions to the conservative movement by virtue of his intellect, his wit, his determination, and, most of all, his compassion,” Snow said. “Few men in public life were as generous with their time, encouragement, and praise.”
Snow noted that it was in fact Buckley who initiated the friendship between the two of them. “Bill reached out to many of us early in our careers and gave the benefit of his experience — and, most of all, his enormous heart. It was always humbling and thrilling to get a call from Bill. You never quite felt that you deserved it. But you always felt that you were the recipient of a very special gift.”
Reading John Miller’s post about how generous Snow was with his time when he was a young journalist, and Mark Steyn’s post noting how he went out of his way to offer encouragement to people he barely knew, it occurred to me that the tributes people are offering about Tony Snow demonstrate he possessed many of the same traits he admired in one of his heroes. I think that’s a real testament to his character.