Tony Blankley, R.I.P. to Our Fallen Editor: We Miss You Already

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Tony Blankley died this weekend after a long battle with cancer. His passing is a sad loss for America, the nation's capital and The Washington Times, all of which he served with great honor and decency. He was editorial page editor of this newspaper for five years. His example, wisdom and political perspective will continue as guiding lights for the work we do here.

After years in the spotlight, Mr. Blankley achieved that status sought by so many but found by so few: He was instantly recognizable to the man on the street. He wore fame well and never stopped being a self-effacing gentleman. He was committed to responding to all of his correspondence and spent hours of each workday hammering away at the keyboard in discussions with cranky strangers who emailed criticism of his work. It was his view that it is the people who count in a democracy, and if their vote mattered on Election Day, their opinions should be respected every other day at a newspaper.

Mr. Blankley was part of every campaign Ronald Reagan ever ran, and he came to Washington as part of the Gipper's California team after his election as president in 1980. His career skyrocketed when he served as spokesman for House Speaker Newt Gingrich and became a familiar TV face for the new Republican majority after the historic GOP takeover of Congress in 1994. Just as I was the first Republican speaker in 40 years, he was the first Republican press secretary for a speaker in 40 years, Mr. Gingrich said when asked Sunday about Mr. Blankley's passing by Kerry Picket of The Washington Times in Manchester, N.H. Tony was a very special person. He was more than a great professional; he was a great human being. He was a caring and loving person. …