March 28, 2006

FAREWELL, LYNWOOD:

Lyn Nofziger, Reagan spokesman and adviser, dies (AP, 3/28/06)

Franklyn "Lyn" Nofziger, the rumpled and irreverent conservative who served Ronald Reagan as press secretary and political adviser, died of cancer Monday. He was 81. [...]

Nofziger, who joined Reagan's ranks early in the political career of the actor-turned-politician, headed the White House political office during the first year of the Reagan presidency and then quit to form a political consulting and lobbying firm.

"He was a great big garrulous guy who was very serious about his politics and very serious about Ronald Reagan," Michael Deaver, Reagan's deputy chief of staff, said Monday. "He was sort of the keeper of the flame."

"He was fun to be around," Deaver said. "Reagan would light up when he came into the room."

Nofziger's great-niece Carol Dahmen said Monday: "He transcended parties; he was loved on both sides of the aisle. You could love him or hate him but everybody respected him."

Conservative columnist George F. Will once described the non-conformist, cigar-chomping Nofziger as "Sancho Panza" to Reagan's Don Quixote.

Asked why he was leaving the White House, Nofziger replied, "I don't like government, it's just that simple." He denied as "99 percent untrue" a report he'd quit because of his exclusion from the president's innermost circle.

His determined irreverence extended to the Reagans.

"I'm not a social friend of the Reagans," he told an interviewer. "That's by their choice and by mine. They don't drink enough."

Bombay gin, outrageous puns and fierce loyalty to Reagan and conservative Republican principles were Nofziger hallmarks. His caustic wit made him a favorite among some reporters who covered Reagan as governor and president and on his various campaigns. [...]

As White House liaison, Nofziger had mixed success with militant conservatives who early in the Reagan administration began chafing at the number of moderate Republicans given key jobs.

"Every time we appoint someone they don't agree with to a job, they feel the victory trickling away," he said in an interview.


Nothing ever changes in politics, huh? There ought to be lapel pins for those of us old enough to remember when the Right was bitching that Reagan had betrayed conservatism and was a crypto-liberal.


MORE:
Strategist, Reagan Adviser Lyn Nofziger (Martin Weil, 3/28/06, Washington Post)

An offbeat figure who wore Mickey Mouse ties with the knot pulled down, Mr. Nofziger won a reputation as a shrewd, two-fisted political battler, who blended loyalty, cantankerousness and pungent phrasemaking. He was known as one of the key staff members involved in Reagan's rise from the California governor's chair to the pinnacle of American power. [...]

After leaving the White House, Mr. Nofziger felt in a personal way what he considered to be governmental overreaching. He was found guilty in 1988 on three counts of illegal lobbying at the Reagan White House within a year after he left to set up his consulting firm.

But a federal court of appeals overturned the conviction in June 1989, asserting that prosecutors had failed to prove that Mr. Nofziger "knowingly" violated the law. The Supreme Court declined to consider reinstating the conviction.

Earlier, when he had appeared in court for his sentencing, Mr. Nofziger demonstrated what supporters viewed as his stubborn resolve to remain faithful to his principles.

Recognizing the value of declaring remorse before being sentenced, Mr. Nofziger said: "I cannot do that if I am to be true to myself and to those hundreds of people all over the country who have supported me . . . because they believe I am an honorable man.

"Your honor, I am an honorable man."


Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2006 7:16 AM
Comments

Bombay gin, outrageous puns and fierce loyalty to Reagan and conservative Republican principles were Nofziger hallmarks.


What a wonderful line to appear in someone's obit. In a perfect world, we all should have line like this written when we die.

Posted by: pchuck at March 28, 2006 10:44 AM

OJ, I remember doing book reports in 10th grade (1987-88) about the fellas who wrote books bitching about Reagan in one way or another. Earned straight A's for all of them.

Lyn Nofziger, however, is definitely the quintessential victim of a witch hunt that never found its witch.

Posted by: Brad S at March 28, 2006 2:01 PM

Brad:

Richard Allen was the ultimate, Nofziger a close second.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2006 3:00 PM
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One of the funniest men in politics has died. More from: Betsy's Page Six Meat Buffet Mark Tapscott Brothers Judd... [Read More]