William Safire, the conservative syndicated columnist for The New York Times has died he was 79. Safire was a no nonsense conservative,but has also angered conservatives from time to time including the George W. Bush Administration with the Patriot Act of 2002 which Safire called it an intrusion on civil liberties.
Safire was born Dec 17, 1929 at onset of the Great Depression, in New York. Attended New York Public Schools and graduated from Bronx High School of the Sciences in 1947. Safire attended Syracuse University, he dropped out in 1949 to work at the former New York Hearld-Tribune. In 1951 He left to work for NBC News.
His first taste for politics on a large scale was to organize a political rally at Madison Square Garden for General Dwight Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University in 1952 who was running for president of United States for the Republican nominee.
According to the New York Times, Safire in 1959 working in Public Relations in Moscow USSR as part of promoting American products brought together then Vice President of the United States Richard Nixon and then Soviet Union leader Nikita S. Khrushchev; into the so-called Kitchen debates of the superiority of capitalism vs communism.
That led to Safire to work on the 1960 presidential of Richard Nixon. Nixon went on to lose to then Senator John F. Kennedy(D-MA). Despite the loss, it didn’t quell Safire taste of world of politics.
In 1964 Safire work on the then New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller presidential Campaign. Rockefeller lost to Senator Barry Goldwater(R-AZ) for the Republican nomination. Goldwater went on to lose to President Lyndon Baines Johnson who won election that November.
In 1965, he led the successful campaign for John V. Lindsay for Mayor of New York.
During the time in of 1961 to 1969 Safire owned his Public Relations firm. In 1968 He sold the firm and joined the Nixon Administration as a speechwriter. Safire wrote many of the president along Patrick J. Buchanan and Raymond K. Price.
Safire was credited with the phrase nattering nabobs of negativism crafted for a speech for Vice President Spiro T. Agnew (who was in trouble tax evasion, fraud, bribery, and conspiracy and charged those crimes and convicted.
Safire left Nixon Administration in 1973 after being hired by the New York Times. There he wrote the column Essays in the New York Times Op-Ed pages. Many at The Times were angry that the paper hired former Nixon speechwriter. But Safire writing paid off for him and the paper by winning the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 1978.
Safire continued the column from 1973 til his retirement in 2005. Safire was a wordsmith who play on language was present in writing and his television appearances on PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and FOX News Channel.
William Safire, written several books fiction and non fiction including 1968 non fiction book “The New Language of Politics,” While at the New York Times he wrote “Before the Fall” 1975 about his years in the Nixon White House. Two years later he wrote his first novel, “Full Disclosure” in 1977 about an American president who survives an assassination attempt and loses his sight and dealt with succession issues.
Safire wrote a column called On Language for The New York Times for 30 years until Earlier in this month.
In 1995-2004 he a member of the Pulitzer Prize board of directors. In 2005 He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to an American Civilian in 2005.
William Safire is survived by his wife Helene a model, pianist and Jeweler of 47 years and his children Mark and Annabell and his grand daughter Lily Safire.