William L. Safire (December 17, 1929 – September 27, 2009) was an American author, columnist, journalist and speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon. He was perhaps best known as a long-time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and the author of "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics from its inception.
Leonard Garment, a poker buddy of Bob Strauss, was a former law partner of Richard Nixon in the 1960s and later served as White House Counsel to President Nixon. I sent a job inquiry to Mr. Garment in the 1990s at Dechert Price, to which a partner responded.
May 29, 1997
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008-4530
The New York Times Washington Bureau
1627 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Mr. Safire:
I was entertained by your May 25, 1997 piece on "The New Old Testament." I interpreted it as a sly parody of the old--now very old--controversy about the "Old versus New Nixon." But, then, according to Bob Strauss's partners I tend to attach a negative meaning to trivial events. (I'm also supposed to be potentially violent. I'm not potentially violent--not that there's anything wrong with that.)
I found it interesting that Leonard Garment was the only person (who does not happen to be a federal circuit judge or a world-renowned linguist), of the several I have contacted, that responded to my letter (albeit via a partner). Was that simply coincidence or was that a measure of the character of the man?
Like I always say (and I'll say "like" if I damn like, Mr. Safire), perhaps the most significant indicator of a person's character is the character of the people who work for him. In Nixon's case, it was really a mixed bag. Unfortunately in Bob Strauss's case--well, we won't pursue that one.