My first thought on reading about Tony Blankley’s death was selfish: I am really going to miss his columns.

Blankley, 63, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had cancer. With Blankley’s death, "Washington just got a little more beige," writes Annie Groer in an affectionate farewell.  

I didn’t know Tony Blankley personally, though he once very generously penned a piece for the old Women’s Quarterly. But I knew him very well through his column, which was inevitably erudite and never failed to sparkle. I knew as I clicked on a Blankley column that I was in for a treat.

He had been press secretary to GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich when Gingrich was in Congress, and his last column praised his former boss’s leadership, defending him from charges of being a poor leader some of his former congressional associates were lobbing Gingrich’s way.    

Blankley, who was born in England but became a U.S. citizen, served as editorial editor of the Washington Times, a vice president at Edelman Communications, and was a regular on TV, most notably on the "The McLaughlin Group," where he dazzled us with his perceptive comments and his bold wardrobe.

Frank Duggan, a lawyer and friend of Blankley’s, wrote in the Daily Caller:

Noted for his sartorial splendor, Tony made at least one trip to London each year to visit with his tailors. The main reason I would watch the old John McLaughlin scream-fests on TV was Tony, as much to see his latest attire as to listen to his wonderful British expressions.

The New York Times obituary quotes a Blankley bon mot:

“Newt is a tad like Gandhi,” he said, “a combination of visionary and practical tactician not often seen in politics. But obviously, Gandhi dressed better.”  

A Townhall tribute notes:

Tony Blankley’s knack for appetizing soundbites (which Tony Blankley calls his "poor-man’s poetry") and sound political strategy made Tony Blankley one of Washington’s premiere sources of ideas and insights.

I am still looking forward to the excitement of this year’s presidential campaign. But it won’t be nearly as much fun without Tony Blankley.