Monday, August 04, 2008

The frank and honest voice of Bob Novak

Just a couple of months ago, a heart attack forever silenced the tough voice and questions of Meet the Press's Tim Russert . Now, a brain tumor has forced the sudden retirement of Robert Novak and thus silenced Novak's frank and tough voice.

For over forty years, Robert Novak's columns and insider reports were a must read for followers of D.C. politics. Novak's conservative point of view was tempered by a realistic view of how the inside of politics worked. His realistic assessments made Novak respected within both parties and even those in the career D.C. scene. Novak had the ability to inspire confidence in those who would leak him insider information and respect from conservative leaders, even when Novak's sometimes blunt assessment of their actions were not the sweet valentines so many conservative pundits regularly offer up to conservative leaders.

This election year will indeed be different in Washington. During the election years of the past two decades, there were two things that gave concern to a candidate and his staff. One was an upcoming interview with Tim Russert. The other was learning that Robert Novak was working on a column on your campaign or candidate. Surviving those two things showed grit in a candidate.

Now, those voices are silenced, and politics will be worse off for it. Time will create other similar voices. In this new age of media, bloggers are stepping up and offering many more sources of news and opinion than ever before.

However, there was always something authentic about an old guy like Novak, who knew all the players, knew how they operated, and knew how to check his facts before he offered his take on them. And, when Novak offered up those opinions, they were his opinions, not opinions he was paid to come up with for this or that group's narrow agenda. In the new age of bloggers, it is sometimes hard to tell who honestly holds an opinion and who gets paid to post one of someone else's. The new media age seems to blur the lines of those who observe and those who are players in the game. That was never the case with Novak.

Prayers go out to Robert Novak and his family. Thanks goes out to Robert Novak for his service to our country. Novak's voice will be missed.

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