Tony Blankley, May He Rest in Peace
January 9, 2012 - 8:40 am
Tony would talk seamlessly about the past and the future. He once called me up to see if I would be interested in having Newt on Good Morning America — not to talk about politics — but to discuss dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History. We shot it at the museum and it was a terrific segment.
Tony was one of the first major political commentators to agree to join us on the early days of PJTV. He did not have an attitude about Internet TV which still dominates a large part of Washington. He practiced futurism as well as preaching it.
Tony truly loved all of life. His home was a sanctuary in the woodlands of Great Falls, Virginia, just outside of DC. Before there were animal rights advocates and angry PETA activists, Tony embraced the world’s creatures. His home brimmed with peacocks, sheep, rabbits, llamas, goats, horses, and of course the family cats and dogs. It was a wonderland. It was his own personal statement about the sanctity of life.
Tony also was a smashing dresser. Our clothes are insignias of who we are. For Tony, it also expressed his values for tradition and civility. Until recently, he always sported a great tie, matching kerchief and refined suit. It underlined Tony’s hope for a civilized world with elegance, standards and decorum. It troubled him about the coarseness of our political discussion. Although we did not talk about OWS, I know he would have considered the entire Occupy venture to be vile.
Tony was a deep intellectual with admiration for the great thinkers of our time. He admired Rand, Buckley, Reagan and Churchill. For a brief time his dad actually worked for Winston Churchill. He deeply loved language. He always had a twinkle in his eye and in an instant he could easily pivot from seriousness to humor.
I last saw him last summer for breakfast at the Hay Adams Hotel in downtown Washington. He was suffering from stomach cancer and had lost what looked like nearly half his weight. Yet when he sat down he was the same old Tony who had a glint in his eye and an easy laugh. I will miss him. But more important, the world will miss the character and values that Tony Blankley lived and extolled.