WILLIAM SAFIRE: Prolific Purveyor Of Punditry

As comfortable with wordplay as with politics, WILLIAM SAFIRE is the country's best practitioner of the art of columny

Writing a provocative newspaper column is an invitation to be egregiously wrong in public -- at least some of the time. Take the man who is America's best practitioner of the art of columny: succinctly melding fact and opinion in an unforgiving 770-word format. Even though in a parade of predictions in late 1988 he called the fall of the Berlin Wall, this Pulitzer-prizewinning pundit also flatly asserted last March that the Soviet Union would never brook Eastern Europe's attempts at independence. "Depend on Mr. Gorbachev to crack down as Mr. Stalin would have, fraternally rolling in the tanks and shooting...

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