You Can't Make This Stuff Up ...
What exactly has William Safire done to earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award?
Hard to say. It was almost as if Bush wanted one true conservative in an otherwise noteworthy group, which includes former Soviet Refusenik Natan Sharansky, Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg, historians David McCullough and Paul Johnson, music legend B.B. King, the late Buck O'Neil, co-founder of the Negro League Baseball Museum, and Norman Mineta, a member of the Bush and Clinton cabinets, and one of the most prominent Asian-American politicians in U.S. history.
But why Safire? The New York Times, Safire's long-time employer, said he is being honored "for polishing the nation’s language and elevating the debates of the day."
Elevating the debates of the day? Like when he was a speechwriter for the Nixon administration, and coined Vice President Spiro Agnew's phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism," to attack the media?
Not to suggest that political concerns are behind who gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but you have to figure that somewhere, Sean Hannity is smiling.
It could be worse. Bush could have awarded another conservative writer, Robert Novak ... or Hannity, for that matter.