Tony Snow's "Ed Muskie moment"

Contrary to what many who know me might think, I really don’t like being cynical. That is, at least all the time. I would rather give people the benefit of the doubt especially in cases in which they have suffered some hardship.

My reference is to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and his show of emotion — what he called his “Ed Muskie moment” — Monday during his first on-air press briefing. For those of you who might not remember or know, Ed Muskie was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. In defending his wife from a newspaper attack, Muskie apparently wept while speaking outside the newspaper’s office while campaigning. He later claimed to be wiping snowflakes from his eyes.

Snow was asked by a reporter yesterday about a yellow wristband that he wears. It was during the following exchange that he had to pause a couple of times to regain his composure:

“MR. SNOW: I had cancer last year. And having cancer, it’s one of these things — thank Terry Hunt for having provided — I lost my old one when I was in the hospital having my last cancer surgery. It’s going to sound stupid, and I’ll be personal here, but — just having gone through this last year — and I said this to Chris Wallace — was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s my Ed Muskie moment. (Laughter.) I lost a mother to cancer when I was 17, same type — same type, colon cancer. And what has happened in the field of cancer since then is a miracle.

“I actually had a chance to talk today with Lance Anderson [sic] about this. You know, it’s one of these things where America — whatever we may say about a health care system, the technologies that were available to me that have me standing behind the podium today, where a doctor who said, you don’t have to worry about getting cancer, just heartburn, talking to these people — (laughter) — that’s a wonderful thing. And I feel every day is a blessing.”

Snow later corrected his mistake referring to Lance Armstrong as Lance Anderson.

The press secretary’s emotion appeared genuine. Maybe it was genuine. I would have liked to have think so. But you can’t escape the fact that Snow is a pretty slick performer. And there appears to be no scheme — no matter how low, idiotic, or illegal — that his boss’ administration will not concoct.

All I can say is that I am sorry that I have to question someone’s show of feelings for what is a truly emotional subject. But Gee Dubya and his pals have raised my cynicism to an all-time high.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *