Cancer Survivor White House Tony Snow’s Special Perspective (UPDATED)

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Newsweeks’ The Gaggle notes that it was a particularly tough — and revealing — week for White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Beset by various controversies, Snow was steadfast in his defense of the Bush administration….but there was a different in tone. And at one point he was moved to tears — and not by reporters tough questions:

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has been more than a little dire this week when discussing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ future in the administration. Asked on Monday if Gonzales had offered his resignation to President Bush amid fallout over firing of eight federal prosecutors, Snow answered in the negative, but offered some blunt commentary. “None of us knows what is going to happen to us over the next 21 months, and that’s why it’s an impossible question to answer: will somebody stay throughout?” Snow said. “Nobody is prophetic enough to know what the next 21 months hold.” On Tuesday, Snow tried to dial back those comments with even bleaker talk. “When I answered yesterday, do you know who’s going to be [attorney general] at the end of the term–as a cancer survivor, I don’t know if I’m going to be alive at the end of this term,” Snow said. “So when you try to put together a question about what’s going to happen for the two years, you don’t know.” Turns out there was a reason he was so serious.

A reason, indeed: Snow is a cancer survivor and on Monday he will undergo surgery to remove a small growth in his abdomen.

It’s fitting to post this on a Sunday — a day of religious reflection. Because even in the rough and tumble political world — and in the brutal 21st century political world with its barrage of shoutfest talk shows and perpetually outraged weblogs — there is a time to take a pause. And Snow reminded everyone that no one is guaranteed he or she will be here beyond this very instant.

Snow was even more pointed, and poignant, when the subject of John and Elizabeth Edwards and Elizabeth Edward’s renewed breast cancer came up:

Snow, who became emotional when responding to questions about Edwards’ cancer fight on Thursday, offered up praise for her courage on Friday. “The reason I got choked up with Elizabeth Edwards yesterday is she is doing a wonderful thing,” Snow said. “The biggest problem you have a lot of times with cancer is just flat-out fear. And when you’re seeing Elizabeth Edwards saying, I’m going to embrace life and I’m going to move forward, that is a wonderful thing, because once you decide that you’re going to embrace life, you become a much better patient. And once you decide that you proceed with a sense of hope and optimism, people are going to rally to your side, and they do- What she is going to do is going to provide a lot of encouragement and example that I think is going to help a lot of people, and that is a truly wonderful thing, and I congratulate her for it.”

Snow provided a STARK contrast in humanity to conservative talk show Rush Limbaugh who didn’t wait a second before going after the Edwardses politically and trying to turn the announcement of her illness into yet ANOTHER chance to whip up Republican listeners’ suspicions and hatreds against Democrats. Read THIS and THIS.

Whether you like Snow’s answers on political issues or not, Tony Snow got it right twice this week. Humanity does count. And Limbaugh? As in the case of Michael J. Fox, Limbaugh seemingly enjoys going after high-profile people who are ill and questioning their motives (even if he later partially backs off on it due to an outcry later) if they do an appearance with high media impact in public.

Why? Because they belong to the “wrong” party.

But, Rush, on this Sunday perhaps it’s worth remembering:

The mili-second after each of us leaves this earthly scene, we’ll no longer be Republicans or Democrats or independents. Just souls.

And it’s unlikely God will say: “Ditto.”

UPDATE:
Be sure to read Richard Blair’s take:The Politics of Humanity.
–Read skippy. And also here.

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  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com/ Shaun Mullen

    Joe:

    Amen, brother.

  • domajot

    Ditto, indeed.
    ———–
    I tried to imagine what if must be like to be Limbaugh. What goes on in his mind when he’s alone?
    I failed. It’s not within my capacity.

  • http://americanfuture.net/ Marc Schulman

    A wonderful post, Joe.

  • kritter

    I tried to imagine what if must be like to be Limbaugh. What goes on in his mind when he’s alone?

    Just as I’ve tried to imagine what goes on in Coulter’s head when the cameras and microphones are turned off. Do they see themselves as culture warriors of the right, where the ends justifies the means?

  • http://www.xnerg.blogspot.com skippy

    nicely put, joe.

  • http://likelihoodofsuccess.com/ Ron Coleman

    You’re saying, Joe, that Mrs. Edwards was counting on Rush Limbaugh for emotional support at this delicate time, and he didn’t provide it?

    Rush is in the political analysis business. If you want flowers and hearts there’s Hallmark. Rush correctly reported that the liberal press correctly portrayed this unfortunate event as a positive for Edwards’s campaign. Was he wrong? No.

    Did he really harm Mrs. Edwards’s emotional state? Hard to imagine. Is there a “decency” test? What exactly is that test?

    Joe, if you were someone who regularly agreed with Rush Limbaugh, and said so, this would be a lot more interesting. Please link if you’re aware of someone who would usually agree with Rush who thinks he stepped over the line here. You linked to a quote on Media Matters from Keith Olbermann — wow, Olbermann thought Limbaugh was out of line. Shocking. Shocking.

    All I see here is the easy shot, by which we show our grand humanity, and Tony Snow, God bless him, provides great support. But what’s the beef on Rush Limbaugh? He judged the Edwardses harshly? He dared suggest what’s in their hearts and souls?

    And you, Joe?

    But, Rush, on this Sunday perhaps it’s worth remembering:

    The mili-second after each of us leaves this earthly scene, we’ll no longer be Republicans or Democrats or independents. Just souls.

    And it’s unlikely God will say: “Ditto.�

    Wow. I don’t even remember Rush Limbaugh actually declaring what God would think of the Edwardses!

    But you — you’ve decided Rush’s eternal fate right here on a blog. Is it ventriloquism that gives you that power, or is it just the spiritual insight of “moderation”?

  • George Sorwell

    As far as a “decency test” test goes, a liberal blogger checked several well-known conservatives for their responses.

    Results: high levels of decency, Limbaugh notwithstanding.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com cosmoetica

    Ron: ‘Rush is in the political analysis business.’

    Ron, Rush is in the entertainment business. Bill Buckley is in the political analysis biz.

    Yet, that fact is why I agree with you that Calling Rush an insensitive lout is superfluous, cuz that’s what he strives to be, to be rich. It’s like calling Howard Stern an arrested adolescent. Yet, that’s why he’s even richer than Rush.

  • pete

    Rush is in the business of political analysis. And his analysis was accurate.

    Tony was offering some personal thoughts, and his thoughts are commendable.

    Ron Coleman has it right. Bashing Rush on this is a cheap shot, Joe.

  • http://likelihoodofsuccess.com/ Ron Coleman

    Actually though, Pete, Cosmo is saying the same thing Rush does! It is entertainment. But he is also a political figure. I must admit I haven’t listened to Rush in years. I don’t have the patience. But he is still a major opinion shaper, for better or for worse, and politics, yes, is his thing.

    I really don’t mean to sound harsh about peoples’ illnesses. That is not the point at all. I am just suggesting “don’t judge people,” especially on moral — much less spiritual — grounds, has to be a universal rule, or it’s none at all.

  • http://www.themoderatevoice.com/ Joe Gandelman

    Hey Ron. I love how you declare me declaring Rush’s “eternal fate.” I never wrote that. YOU read it into it. Your comment puts a whole bunch of things I never said into my post. I didn’t know I wrote all that stuff (did I really say anywhere that Mrs. Edwards was depending on Rush for support?) And here I only thought I wrote what I wrote. Anyway, thank you so much for the compliment for suggesting I have so many profound hidden meanings in my posts. I’m doing one now on Iran and be sure to let me know what I wrote afterwards in case I missed it.

  • pete

    Yes, Rush intends to be entertaining. And that he is.

    He’s also an analyst and commentator. (He says he’s ‘just an entertainer’. If you believe that, you might buy the Brooklyn Bridge.) His analysis often sets the talking points for the remainder of the day, much as the NY Times does for the left.

    I agree with you that standards of morality, and civility, must be applied uniformly to all sides, if they’re to have any meaning at all.

  • kritter

    Whether you consider him an entertainer, comedian or political analyst, Rush and the rest of the AM radio crowd have done more than their share to pull our political discourse into the sewer. One would hope even HE would have a shred of humanity, even when talking about a Democrat, but I guess its too much to expect. Just remember if Newt runs, Sean and Rush are two of his biggest supporters. Conservatives can try to distance themselves, but at least some of them continue to enable him by listening .Wasn’t Rush the first to complain about lefty bloggers wishing Cheney’s near miss with death wasn’t missed? He doesn’t exactly hold the moral high ground!

    Before anyone jumps down my throat, I was also turned off by Frankenstein and friends on Air America, lol!

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com cosmoetica

    Pete:

    Back here on earth, an analyst is paid for the specific contributions they make in whatever field they are in. Rush, like Stern, is paid for how many troglodytes he can get to listen to him, not the content of what he says, pro or con. Period. That makes him an entertainer, like Larry King or Oprah Winfrey.

    ‘the NY Times does for the left’

    Now I know this is from another solar system. This is the same paper that rah-rahed his Iraq blunder. It’s also the one that most wealthy, Repub NYers consult as their daily Bible. It’s not the SSJ- too many stats.

    It’s always humorous when one tries to parallax extremist views, for only someone of the farthest fringes of the Right wd call the NYT Leftist.

    However, unlike a decade ago, Rush is not at the top of the Right Wing echo chamber- folk like Coulter, Hannity and bow tie boy Carlson have long since eclipsed the old fat pill popper.

    And Stern’s way funnier than Rush cd dream of being.

    That’s Entertainment!

  • http://AOL Frances P.

    God bless you. Get Well soon.
    We are praying for you.

    Sincerly,
    Frances

  • http://www.dhamilton.ws Dale Hamilton

    I wish Tony Snow well. Just wish he would include more natural ways of strengthening his immune system (if he isn’t).

    I have been Stage IV Cancer going on 4 years and did not do chemo or any conventional medicine. I have a top-notch Oncologist but chose to go the natural route and haven’t looked back. I take no medication of any kind and wish Mr. Snow would visit my website. I have no advertisments on it.

    http://www.dhamilton.ws

    Called the “Life and Times of a Simple Man”

    I think he could benefit greatly and even beat this Cancer by strengthening what is his only hope of beating this insidious disease.
    Doctors diagnose and treat, but they don’t cure anything. The IMMUNE SYSTEM does.

    Sincerely,
    Dale Hamilton

  • http://PeoplePC Katharina

    I know how to cure liver cancer, I dont have Tony Snow e-mail address
    Please give me his e-mail and I will sent all my recomendations.
    Sincerely,
    Yekaterina Gruber