It's official. Tony Snow is the new White House press secretary.
I've known Tony since we appeared together on Bob Beckel's misnamed McLaughlin Group knockoff Off the Record circa 1990. Tony was then and is now one of the nicest people in the news business and also one of the best-informed. He always tries to be accurate and fair. He was, as readers probably know, host of Fox News Sunday from 1996 to 2003 and has been a Fox News Radio talk-show host since then. The left-wing media have been trolling through Tony's voluminous record to find remarks critical of George W. Bush, with some success. But of course that just underlines his commitment to telling it like it is.
The press may pound away at inconsistencies between his past statements and current administration positions. But ordinary people have the sense to know that he is moving to a different kind of job, with different requirements.
Tony is a man of deep religious faithtested, surely, by the colon cancer with which he was stricken last yearand of unfailing good humor. His temperament is similar to that of Bill Clinton's most successful press secretary, Mike McCurry. Members of the press corps tend to become quickly enchanted with spokesmen who have a sense of humor, particularly if, as is true of Mike and Tony, there's an element of self-deprecation to it.
The current White House press corps, with a few exceptions, is in my opinion the most biased and untalented group seen in that dismal briefing room for many years. And they're not going to be permanently enchanted with Tony Snow: After all, he's the spokesman for The Enemy. But I think that Tony will be able to exert the sense of command that Scott McClellan conspicuously lacked and that his good humor will prove to be a considerable asset for the president and the administration. George W. Bush is lucky that Tony was willing to take the job.