It took cancer longer than a year to kill Bob Novak, and actually, this was the fifth cancer that tried to kill him. Let that stand as testimony as to how tough this guy was. He was very tough. He worked long hours as a reporter and columnist. He always was on call to pop onto a TV set and comment on breaking news. He prepared diligently for the two cable shows he appeared on, CNN's "Crossfire" and "Capital Gang." On those shows, he earned the widely known sobriquet "The Prince of Darkness," which was nonsense. He was tough, but he was fair, objective and a thoroughly decent man.
Political aficionados know him from his enormously informed column, which was written from a conservative point of view, but it was the conservatism of an independent mind. No orthodoxy dictated his opinions, only fact and his huge knowledge of history -- mostly political history, but he also knew the broader aspects of history. He was an energetic reader. He read long hours, and he went to basketball games, University of Maryland basketball games. In conversation, it often sounded to me as though he had a higher regard for athletes and coaches than for politicians.
He is one of the most loyal contributors that The American Spectator ever has had. Some who have written for us never let it be known in their bios, lest they give offense to polite company. Bob never hid his relationship with us and mentions it often in his stupendously informative memoirs, "The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington." He was always available to write both essays and book reviews in the magazine, but he contributed in so many other ways. He was a regular participant at our monthly editorial dinners, known as the Saturday Evening Club, where no matter the rigors of his day, he would animatedly lead the discussion on issues interesting to him, often amusingly, always intelligently. He participated in our programs to train young journalists. He served on our board of directors, never flinching when the government haled us before a grand jury or when the Clintonistas infiltrated into the media tales of our treasonous behavior. During all this hullabaloo, I innocently asked Bob what the mainstream journalists thought of us. The mortar fire was pretty heavy. "They think you're obnoxious," he responded. Gee, Bob, have a heart!
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