William Safire has announced his retirement from the New York Times. His last column will be on January 24th.
I’ve enjoyed his writing if not his politics. During and after the Clinton administration Mr. Safire made it his mission to take down the Clintons, and to this day he seems to be convinced that Hillary Clinton is Lady Macbeth. There seems to be a slightly mirthful tone to it, though, so my suspicion is that he does it just to piss people off. (It works.) Lately he has employed a lot of tortured logic to explain away the missteps of the Bush administration, but then, he had good training – he was on staff in the Nixon White House and supplied Vice President Spiro Agnew with some of the more memorable lines in the early 1970’s when the veep lashed out at liberals as “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “pusilanimous pussyfooters.” The guy does know how to turn a phrase.
Speculation on who will replace him is already running rampant. My guess is that it will be someone like Andrew Sullivan. But then, what have they got David Brooks for?