While I already knew that G. Gordon Liddy was retiring (I listened to his last show), it was nice to see that Drudge linked a story about it.

Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy, who left prison for a successful career as a conservative radio commentator, is retiring after 20 years and revealing two of the secrets that made him so famous so fast.

Liddy, who stopped broadcasting on Radio America July 27 and has since switched off his microphone for good, told Secrets that his radio career began over 20 years ago when he was asked to fill in for a vacationing talk show host in the New York area.

On the first day he arrived with a cold and his voice failed him. Down the hall, conservative host Rush Limbaugh had just finished broadcasting his national show and heard the “G-Man” struggling over the station’s speakers. “He didn’t know me from Adam but he came in, sat down and carried me for the rest of the program.”

On the second day, media mogul Mel Karmazin was in his limo listening to competing radio stations in New York and was wowed by Liddy’s blunt approach and told his Washington station, WJFK, to give the former Nixon aide an audition, which quickly led to a job and a long career on the radio.

When Liddy started at WJFK in 1992, he tried an unusual approach: He read news stories from the conservative press on air. “I just wanted to get the information out there. And it worked,” he said in amazement.

I started listening to his show in 1993, although I had (along with John Lennon) read his book Will when it first came out, and while I was a student at UC Berkeley I saw him debate Timothy Leary.

What made me especially love the guy was that he is always the consummate gentleman with those who disagree — including yours truly. I spent a lot of time calling in discussing politics on the show, sending him faxes which he would read over the air, and it is no exaggeration to say that — especially in light of the way he stood up to White House attempts at censorship — he was much of the inspiration behind my decision to start blogging. I would even call him a muse of sorts, if an unwitting one. He linked this blog on his web site and he left at least one comment that I remember.

I’ll sorely miss him, and I say that as someone who seriously disagreed with him on the cultural stuff. In the country I grew up in, it was once the American way that people who disagreed could be civil, and even be friends.

Clinton’s White House special counsel Lanny Davis explains:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVhV3c0mv0&feature=results_video

Gordon is a brilliant guy and a true American who stood up for what he believed in ways most of us can’t imagine, and was cheerfully willing to pay the price.

They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

I’ll sorely miss him.