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BARONE: God grant Tony an agreeable menagerie

When I think of Tony Blankley, whom we have lost way too soon, I don't think first of his incisive and concise political commentary - he always managed to make his points on McLaughlin Group more economically and succinctly than I did - but of his love for animals and his family and his wry humor and wit. I often asked him how many dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and other animals he and Lynda had at their house in Great Falls, and as I recall the census numbers seemed to fluctuate, but generally in an upward direction. He seemed to know each of them personally and I sensed that this former Hollywood child actor with his residual British accent treated them with as much respect and interest as he did his fellow human beings.

Tony also had a flair for colorful clothes, one that few if any men in Washington could match, and, perhaps more hidden from others, a flair for hard work. How could he commute from Great Falls to The Washington Times on New York Avenue, N.E., and then hop over to the NBC studios on Nebraska Avenue, N.W., and stay so well-informed? There's another paradox I could never fully explain: How could he remain so good-humored and upbeat when he perceived the dire threats to our civilization that he described in his book, "The West's Last Chance"? My last interchanges with Tony were all too brief, and I have many more questions I want to ask him, questions that will sadly have to go unanswered. May he rest in peace, and with an agreeable menagerie all around him.

Michael Barone is senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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