Interesting quotes by William Safire
“In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.”
“Americans of all persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady – a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many of her generation—is a congenital liar.”
“I’m willing to zap conservatives when they do things that are not libertarian. I was the first to really go after George W. on his treatment of prisoners.”
“Decide on some imperfect Somebody and you will win, because the truest truism in politics is: You can’t beat Somebody with Nobody.”
A brief biography of William Safire
William Safire was born William Lewis Safir on December 17, 1929 in New York City. He was a long time columnist for The New York Times Magazine as well as a novelist, journalist and speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
Coming from a Jewish and Romanian family, Safire’s parents were Oliver and Ida Safir. William would later on add the “e” for pronunciation purposes. Graduating from Bronx High School of Science, Safire continued his education at Syracuse University, but would drop out two years later. However, it would be in 1978 and 1990 when Safire would give the commencement address and become a university trustee.
In 1960, Safire got on board with Nixon’s campaign and would do so again in 1968. After Nixon won the election, he would be hired as Nixon’s and Agnew’s speechwriter. One of his speeches was In the Event of Moon Disaster, Safire wrote this in case the astronauts of Apollo 11 were to get stranded on the moon. This speech was a suggestion by Safire, where it portrayed a suggestive protocol to be followed in case the unfortunate happened—closing down communications, and working with a clergy member.
In 1973, Safire began working for The New York Times, in a political column. However, his phone lines at the time were being tapped—authorized by Nixon. After that Safire would just write about domestic affairs, which he called “restrained fury”. In 1978, Safire was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. The following year, he began writing his well-known column “On Language” in The New York Times Magazine. The column featured language related subjects—including etymology and usages. Safire would continue writing this column until his death. He would also make recurring appearances on Meet the Press. In 2000, Safire became chief executive and chairman for the Dana Foundation—an organization in New York regarding brain research. In 2006, George W. Bush presented Safire with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—a token of recognition.
William Safire died on September 27, 2009 in Rockville, Maryland. His cause of death was pancreatic cancer.