William Safire RIP

Posted by Kendall Harmon

William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times who also wrote novels, books on politics and a Malaprop’s treasury of articles on language, died at a hospice in Rockville, Md., on Sunday. He was 79.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Martin Tolchin, a friend of the family.

There may be many sides in a genteel debate, but in the Safire world of politics and journalism it was simpler: there was his own unambiguous wit and wisdom on one hand and, on the other, the blubber of fools he called “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”

He was a college dropout and proud of it, a public relations go-getter who set up the famous Nixon-Khrushchev “kitchen debate” in Moscow, and a White House wordsmith in the tumultuous era of war in Vietnam, Nixon’s visit to China and the gathering storm of the Watergate scandal, which drove the president from office.

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Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. William P. Sulik wrote:

I loved his book on Job - the First Dissident. 

Once upon a time, I detested anyone connected with Nixon - I was young.  I’ve learned that people are a lot more complex - William Safire was a good man - may he rest in peace in the bosom of Father Abraham.

September 27, 10:13 pm | [comment link]
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