William Safire Quotes
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Never assume the obvious is true.
Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.
To be accused of 'channeling' is to be dismissed as a ventriloquist's live dummy, derogated at not having a mind of one's own.
When articulation is impossible, gesticulation comes to the rescue.
As long as one American is hungry... then we have unfinished business in this country.
It is in the nature of tyranny to deride the will of the people as the voice of the mob, and to denounce the cry for freedom as the roar of anarchy.
The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.
Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.
The Latin motto over Poindexter's new Pentagon office reads Scientia Est Potentia - "knowledge is power." Exactly: the government's infinite knowledge about you is its power over you.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
Writers who used to show off their erudition no longer sing in the bare ruined choir of the media.
A man who lies, thinking it is the truth, is an honest man, and a man who tells the truth, believing it to be a lie, is a liar.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home, when he was British Foreign Secretary, said he received the following telegram from an irate citizen: "To hell with you. Offensive letter follows."
If you re-read your work, you can find on re-reading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by re-reading and editing.
I think we have a need to know what we do not need to know.
Create your own constituency of the infuriated.
You don't want lopsided government. You don't want one side running roughshod over the other.
When I need to know the meaning of a word, I look it up in a dictionary.
Adjective salad is delicious, with each element contributing its individual and unique flavor; but a puree of adjective soup tastes yecchy.
I want my questions answered by an alert and experienced politician, prepared to be grilled and quoted -- not my hand held by an old smoothie.
Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.
The perfect Christmas gift for a sportscaster, as all fans of sports clichés know, is a scoreless tie.
Gridlock is great. My motto is, 'Don't just do something. Stand there.'
Avoid overuse of 'quotation “marks.”'
No one flower can ever symbolize this nation. America is a bouquet.
A dependent clause is like a dependent child: incapable of standing on its own but able to cause a lot of trouble.
Give your main clause a little space. Prose is not like boxing; the skilled writer deliberately telegraphs his punch, knowing that the reader wants to take the message directly on the chin.
Knowing how things work is the basis for appreciation, and is thus a source of civilized delight.
It behooves us to avoid archaisms. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Have a definite opinion.
Never put the story in the lead. Let 'em have a hot shot of ambiguity right between the eyes.
Adapt your style, if you wish, to admit the color of slang or freshness of neologism, but hang tough on clarity, precision, structure, grace.
The first ladyship is the only federal office in which the holder can neither be fired nor impeached.
The most fun in breaking a rule is in knowing what rule you're breaking.
... it's Bush's baby, even if he shares its popularization with Gorbachev. Forget the Hitler 'new order' root; F.D.R. used the phrase earlier.
I'm willing to zap conservatives when they do things that are not libertarian.
Dangling punch lines to forgotten stories remain in the language like the smile of the Cheshire cat.
The remarkable legion of the unremarked, whose individual opinions are not colorful or different enough to make news, but whose collective opinion, when crystallized, can make history.
At a certain point, what people mean when they use a word becomes its meaning.
To communicate, put your words in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce.
When duty calls, that is when character counts.
Decide on some imperfect Somebody and you will win, because the truest truism in politics is: You can't beat Somebody with Nobody.
Took me a while to get to the point today, but that is because I did not know what the point was when I started.
[Senators John Kerry & John Edwards] have risen high in Democratic polls with a brand of class resentment and soak-the-rich rhetoric rooted in the old-fashioned liberalism of Ted Kennedy.
Color and bite permeate a language designed to rally many men, to destroy some, and to change the minds of others.
If America cannot win a war in a week, it begins negotiating with itself.
A book should have an intellectual shape and a heft that comes with dealing with a primary subject.
The new, old, and constantly changing language of politics is a lexicon of conflict and drama?ridicule and reproach?pleading and persuasion.
When your government, employer, landlord, merchant, banker and local sports team gang up to picture, digitize and permanently record your every activity, you are placed under unprecedented control.
One challenge to the arts in America is the need to make the arts, especially the classic masterpieces, accessible and relevant to today's audience.