Safire Was No 'Nattering Nabob of Negativism': Dowd
They don't make 'em like Safire anymore, writes Times colleague Dowd
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2009 7:20 AM CDT
New York Times columnist William Safire holds up a pair of boxing gloves in this 1996 photo. Safire died Sunday aged 79.   (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, File)
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(Newser) – Bill Safire, to use the phrase he coined, was anything but a "nattering nabob of negativity," writes his New York Times "colleague in columny" Maureen Dowd. The former Nixon speechwriter—who once told Dowd he had been frozen out by the Times' liberal writers until he saved a drowning child at a party—was always gracious, Dowd recalls, who only ever chastised her on a point of language despite their strongly opposed views on the Iraq war.

"He had none of the vile and vitriol of today’s howling pack of conservative pundits: Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter and Malkin," Dowd writes. She once spotted her colleague having lunch with a former Carter administration official who lost his job after Safire exposed irregular banking practices in a Pulitzer Prize-winning column. “Only hit people when they’re up," Safire told her.