By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Awful news

Of course, the human dimension is what’s paramount in the news that Tony Snow, like Elizabeth Edwards before him, has suffered a serious recurrence of cancer.

What’s especially depressing, though, is that the two announcements conjure up the bad old days, when a cancer diagnosis was inevitably seen as a death sentence. Snow and Edwards are high-profile cancer survivors. So it is likely that they’ll now be seen by many people as examples of the limits of medicine.

Or maybe not. Maybe each will lead unexpectedly long lives, managing their disease like a chronic rather than a terminal illness.

It hardly seems relevant at this point, but I can’t help but note that Elizabeth Edwards is the best thing about the Edwards campaign, and that Tony Snow is not only a huge upgrade over his predecessors as White House spokesman but also seems like one of the few genuine human beings in the Bush administration.

Best wishes to both.

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  1. mike_b1

    You’re selling Edwards way short. The guy is one of the few who can sound positive themes and actually come across as believing them.And with all the ugliness in the world and US politics right now, that is going to mean something in the days ahead. Being a good president isn’t about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about having an attractive vision and being able to communicate it/sell it to the masses. From what I see of those in the race right now, Edwards’ only peer in that regard is Obama.

  2. Anonymous

    I think you undervalue John Edwards and overvalue Tony Snow. I agree that Edwards’s style takes some getting used to, but he is a person of real substance and he is seriously focused on the kinds of domestic issues that trouble most people most of the time. As for Tony Snow, he is clever and glib, but that does not conceal the occasional viciousness (see his comments on John Kerry’s “joke” as one small example). The fact that he is better than his two predecessors does not set the bar high at all. So one may feel sympathy for the human being, but one should also recall that this human being has never expressed much sympathy for others who need it and has always embodied a “philosophy” that never has.I recommend that you read Pete Hamill’s column on the death of Mendel Rivers many years ago called “No Sad Songs.”

  3. Don

    At least they don’t have cancer of the brain like 218 members of the House.

  4. Chris Smith

    Anon 240 – What make syou think a man like Tony Snow would want any sympathy from anyone? He has batteld cancer before and will do it again with or without your sympathy. Your sympathy would be better directed towards John Edwards and his enourmous electricity bills ( see the 28,000 sq ft mansion).

  5. o-fish-l

    I agree Dan, best wishes to them both.From a media perspective though, the silence is deafening on John Edwards and his dozens of $1,000,000+ medical malpractice lawsuits, the Doctors he destroyed and the health care crisis he caused in N.C. It seems like a Greek tragedy that the life of Edwards’ spouse now depends on the very profession he attempted to destroy. See, the earliest victims of Roe v. Wade would now be 34 years-old. Certainly some would be Doctors or researchers in the prime of their careers. There have been 48,589,993 babies killed since 1973. John Edwards strongly supports abortion “rights” and even voted against the ban on grotesque partial-birth abortions in 1999.One wonders if perhaps any of those 48.5 million children or the dozens of Doctors that John Edwards helped destroy, held the cure for his wife’s illness.Of course none of these issues were touched by Katie Couric or anyone else in the media, just “hard-hitting” discussion of the Edwards’ “baby-birds.”Still, I wish the best for Mrs. Edwards, Tony Snow, Ann Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and all Americans who have suffered or are suffering from chronic illness.

  6. A.J. Cordi

    I dislike them both – a lot – but would never wish illness upon them, or anyone for that matter.Sadly, I’ve already come across a few websites that are cheering Snow’s cancer. Such a sick world…

  7. mike_b1

    One wonders if perhaps any of those 48.5 million children or the dozens of Doctors that John Edwards helped destroy, …OK, I’ve stopped laughing. Almost. Too funny.Seriously, when one resorts to quoting the Washington Times, one has truly reached the bottom of the barrel.

  8. Which of Edwards "Two Americas" Am I in?

    I think you undervalue John Edwards and overvalue Tony Snow.I agree 100%. Tony Snow is just a better politician than Ari or Scott were – he makes you want to thank him for sticking a knife in your gut.Being a cancer survivor myself, I don’t exactly wish cancer on Tony. But I wouldn’t shed any tears if anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave dropped dead tomorrow…Snow is no exception.Speaking of which, one day whilst getting infused at DFCI I happened to be sitting near an older woman, who’d been coming every week for over 10 years to receive her treatment. Breast cancer, IIRC. So even really serious cancers can be held in check for many years. Good news for Elizabeth Edwards.

  9. MeTheSheeple

    mike_b1: Seriously, when one resorts to quoting the Washington Times, one has truly reached the bottom of the barrel.You’ve obviously never read the coments on when someone posts an article from Newsmax. A recent example.

  10. Anonymous

    Allow me to quote Charlie Pierce on one of John Edwards’s “predatory” cases:”In 1994, an eight-year old girl named Valerie Lakey was playing in a wading pool. She got caught in a defective drain. Her intestines were ripped from her body by the suction. She is now 17. She will have to be fed through a tube, 12 hours a day, for the rest of her life. In 1997, John Edwards won her family a $25 million judgment, of which he took a portion. The judgment helped jump-start his political career.”I’d be more inclined to believe all this right wing demonization of lawyers if their first response were not to seek immediate legal help themselves at the first hint of impropriety — which, in their case, happens all too frequently.Anon 2:40

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