Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Irony and Safire

William Safire, who died the other day, was a master of ironic commentary. Every Sunday I was impressed at the way he was able to turn his column about language and words into a forum on the shortcomings of liberals. So it was a pleasure to include him in my book, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1978, at age 48, for exposing the corruption in the Carter administration. Few knew corruption as intimately as Safire––he'd worked in the Nixon White House. The entry following the one about Safire is about Paul Newman, who at age 48, discovered his name was on President Nixon's enemies list.


  1. First Bill Buckley now Bill Safire. Two of the few remaining intelligent conservatives within the space of so short at time. The voices of reason within the conservative movement are dwindling by the day.

    My left-leaning ways notwithstanding, although I did not agree with him much of the time, when William Safire spoke, I listened.

    Meanwhile the movement that the two men were so identified with - the movement they both tried to save from the kooks, criminals and fools who have hijacked it - continues to implode.

    Isn't life wonderful?


    Tom Degan

  2. I also have a fondness for both Buckley and Safire. Both appear in my book. My favorite Buckley anecdote is his first meeting with J. K. Galbraith, the liberal icon, in an elevator at the Plaza, arriving for Truman Capote's Black and White Ball. Those were days when liberal and conservative could co-exist (with the occasional black eye: see my Gore Vidal entry from Saturday). I was a conservative then and am a flaming liberal now, all without moving an inch. The political spectrum has moved around me.