William Safire (1929-2009) Quotes – The Conservative Voice of the New York Times Passes


In honor of the late William Safire (1929-2009), conservative commentarist and observer of American life, politics, and our long tradition of bumbling our way to solutions, below are some of his more memorable thoughts.

Safire spent 30 years as the conservative voice of the New York Times. He is credited with making conservatives acceptable in the 1970s and the 1980s. Safire always insisted upon being forthright and being “definite”.

He became a bit cranky and sensationalist in the 2000s as other media and voices became louder, but so did conservatives in general as the movement moved away from its core philosophy and more towards being a voice of opposition 24/7.

“Never assume the obvious is true.”

“The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.”

“No one flower can ever symbolize this nation. America is a bouquet.”

“If you want to ‘get in touch with your feelings,’ fine, talk to yourself. We all do. But if you want to communicate with another thinking human being, get in touch with your thoughts.”

“One difference between French appeasement and American appeasement is that France pays ransom in cash and gets its hostages back while the United States pays ransom in arms and gets additional hostages taken.”

“If America cannot win a war in a week, it begins negotiating with itself.”

“Decide on some imperfect Somebody and you will win, because the truest truism in politics is: You can’t beat Somebody with Nobody.”

“Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.”

“Knowing how things work is the basis for appreciation, and is thus a source of civilized delight.”

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