|From: Glenn Petersen||8/5/2005 9:10:39 AM|
|With Starr, Roberts Pushed Reagan Agenda |
By David G. Savage Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — For many years, the solicitor general was known as the "10th justice," a trusted figure who advised the Supreme Court on the law and whose client was the United States.
But midway through the Reagan administration, the office took on a new role. The solicitor general became not just the government's chief lawyer before the high court, but the point man for a conservative transformation in the law.
When John G. Roberts Jr., then 34, joined Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr as his top deputy in fall 1989, they were determined to make the Reagan Revolution a legal reality.
Roberts "was in that position as the principal political deputy to the solicitor general because he was simpatico with the administration," said Washington lawyer Charles J. Cooper, a longtime friend of the Supreme Court nominee. "He agreed with the thrust of what the administration was doing."
Together, Starr and Roberts pressed a strongly conservative legal agenda for 3 1/2 years.
They argued for limiting the scope of civil rights laws, ending race-based affirmative action, restoring some prayers to public schools and overruling Roe vs. Wade, the case that established a woman's right to abortion.
They sought to make it harder for environmentalists to challenge the government in court. They intervened on the side of Operation Rescue to shield abortion protesters from being sued. And they joined Texas state lawyers in arguing that new evidence of a death row inmate's "actual innocence" did not entitle him to reopen his case in federal court.
In the first right-to-die case to reach the Supreme Court, they intervened on the side of then-Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft to argue that state officials may keep a comatose woman alive over the objections of her family.
"Ken Starr and John Roberts are genuine conservatives," said Christopher J. Wright, a lawyer who worked under them at the solicitor general's office. "They're highly professional and excellent lawyers. But I'm a Democrat, and I can't say I always agreed with them."
Because it opens the clearest window on his legal views, Roberts' record at the solicitor general's office under President George H.W. Bush has become the focus of attention for Senate Democrats. They have been studying 81 Supreme Court briefs signed by Roberts between 1989 and 1993, and have asked the White House to disclose the memos he wrote in 16 of those cases.
But the White House has refused to provide the memos and other supporting documentation, claiming a lawyer-client privilege. As a result, Roberts' legal philosophy during that highly politicized period can only be gleaned from the public files.
They suggest a strongly, though not uniformly, conservative approach to issues.
Unlike his position as an assistant to Atty. Gen. William French Smith in 1981 and 1982, Roberts' later post in the solicitor general's office gave him the chance to try to reshape the law at the Supreme Court. And when teamed with Starr, he was not shy about pressing sharply ideological positions in the court.
The duty and role of the solicitor general was a subject of debate in the 1980s. Reagan's first solicitor general, Rex Lee, quit in frustration, saying he was reluctant to "press the administration's policies at every turn …. I'm the solicitor general, not the pamphleteer general."
The solicitors who followed Lee, including Charles Fried and Starr, were more willing to advocate the ideological views of the administration.
And in the Reagan and Bush administrations, that meant urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
In 1991, for example, when the court took up a free-speech challenge to an abortion regulation, Starr and Roberts filed a brief saying, "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled." The regulation at issue prohibited doctors and nurses at federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with their patients. The court later upheld the regulation in a 5-4 decision, but without discussing the validity of Roe vs. Wade.
The next year, Starr's office intervened in a Pennsylvania dispute to urge the court again to overrule Roe. "The protection of human life — in and out of the womb — is certainly the most compelling interest that a state can advance," Starr said. But the high court rejected the advice and, in a 5-4 ruling, said women could opt for an abortion during the first six months of a pregnancy.
The challenging of Roe — and the view at the solicitor general's office of its proper role — is defended by Columbia University law professor Thomas Merrill, who worked under Starr and Roberts.
"The president [George H.W. Bush] had campaigned for overruling Roe vs. Wade," he said. "We in the office knew the administration's position. It was only a question of how to go about achieving that objective."
In 1991, Roberts personally argued a case along with lawyers for Operation Rescue. The protesters had been sued in Virginia over their abortion clinic blockades. The women who sued relied on the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which made it illegal for a group to conspire to deprive individuals of their rights.
Roberts began by saying that he was not defending the actions of the protesters. Rather, he argued, the 19th century civil rights law did not apply to their conduct. The law only applied when people were singled out for discrimination, as blacks were by the Klan, Roberts said.
"Opposition to abortion is [not] the same as discrimination on the basis of gender," he said, adding that it was "wrong as a matter of law and logic" to make such a claim. In a 6-3 decision, the court agreed with his argument in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia.
The lawyer who represented the women said the Bush administration lawyers should have stayed out of the case.
"We were greatly bothered that the federal government was in this case on the side of Operation Rescue," Deborah Ellis, a New York University law professor, said recently. "There is a right to abortion, and whether you agree with it or not, it is objectionable that women could be deprived of this right by force."
(The Supreme Court is set to hear a similar case this fall involving blockades at abortion clinics. Lawyers for the National Organization for Women won a suit against leaders of Operation Rescue for using violence and threats against doctors and patients. The court will hear an appeal from the antiabortion advocates, who say a federal extortion law does not apply to such protests.)
Shortly after Roberts arrived in Starr's office, the federal government also intervened in a Missouri right-to-die case.
Nancy Cruzan had been badly injured in an auto accident. She never regained consciousness, and her family petitioned a court to remove her surgically implanted feeding tube.
"The question is whether the state is going to decide this, or the person's family is going to make the decision," William Colby, a lawyer for the Cruzans, told the court.
Missouri's lawyers said they were defending the "right to life" protected by their state constitution, and Starr argued that the states deserved "wide latitude" to set their own rules.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, ruled for the state.
Starr and Roberts also upset women's rights advocates in 1991 when they intervened on the side of a Georgia school district in a major test of Title IX, the law that bars sex discrimination in schools and colleges.
Christine Franklin, a student, said she had been sexually harassed and abused by a popular coach, who was later dismissed. She sued the school district.
Starr and Roberts urged the court to rule that the law did not give victims of sex discrimination a right to sue. The justices unanimously rejected that view.
During their time together in the solicitor general's office, Starr and Roberts helped win rulings that had a broad effect across the nation. They joined a Nebraska case in which the court ruled that student-led Bible clubs had a right to meet at public schools. They joined a Minnesota case in which the court upheld state law requiring a parent to be notified before an underage girl had an abortion. And they joined an Oklahoma City case in which the court set the stage for ending school busing programs.
But Roberts was not always on the government's side.
He intervened in a Louisiana case to argue on behalf of an inmate, Keith Hudson, who had been beaten by two prison guards while he was shackled and handcuffed.
He later sued the guards for violating his constitutional rights and won $800 in damages. But the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans threw out the verdict and ruled that prisoners' rights were not violated by abusive treatment that did not cause a significant and permanent injury.
Roberts spotted the case and said he was troubled by the lower court's ruling. Though "frivolous" suits from prisoners were a problem, this was not a frivolous case, he said. Nor, he told the court, should the law condone the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain" on prisoners.
The high court agreed in a 7-2 ruling written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Justices Clarence Thomas and Scalia dissented.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Roberts' nomination to the high court, have demanded to see the memos he wrote in several of the cases from his time in Starr's office. They say they want to see how Roberts analyzed the law, and whether the administration's position was also his.
His friend Cooper, who was also a veteran of the Reagan administration, said it was fair to conclude that Roberts agreed in essence with the legal arguments he made on behalf of the first Bush administration — though "it would be wrong to conclude he agreed with every line in those briefs."
Within the Justice Department, Roberts was admired for his intelligence and modesty.
"My most distinct memory is that he played his cards close to the vest," Merrill said. "I briefed him for his first two days there, and he nodded and smiled. He didn't talk much. John never kicked back and philosophized about his view of the law."
Roberts also won plaudits as an advocate before the high court. He was especially adept at calmly answering rapid-fire questions from the justices.
Ted Cruz, now the Texas solicitor general, was a clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in the mid-1990s. "We asked the chief one day who is the best lawyer before the court," he recalled. "He didn't hesitate. He said he was confident a majority of his colleagues would say John Roberts is the best."
But some in the Justice Department were put off by Roberts' strongly conservative views.
"He had very strong ideological views about the law, and he saw his mission in life as bringing these conservative views to bear on civil rights and anti-discrimination laws," said Susan Carle, then a lawyer in the department's civil rights division and now a professor at American University's law school.
In Starr's and Roberts' final year in the solicitor general's office, the Reagan Revolution ran aground at the high court.
They had focused on two goals that were dear to conservatives since Reagan's election: restoring prayers to public schools and overturning the right to choose abortion.
They intervened in a Rhode Island case that tested whether school officials could invite a cleric to give an invocation at graduation. The Bush administration lawyers argued that a ceremonial prayer did not amount to an "establishment of religion" and therefore should be upheld.
They also intervened in the Pennsylvania case to argue that states could make all abortions a crime.
The term ended in June 1992 with a pair of setbacks for conservatives. By 5-4 votes, the court ruled that school-sponsored prayers were unconstitutional, even at ceremonies, and upheld the right of pregnant women to choose abortion.
A few months later, the Bush team was swept out of office when President Clinton won the White House.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: J.B.C.||8/11/2005 4:08:51 PM|
|On this day in history,|
In 1984, President Reagan joked during a voice test for a paid political radio address that he had "signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
The kind of stuff that gave him a landslide election in 1984...along with his retort about the question of age in the debates:
"I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)|
|To: J.B.C. who wrote (245)||8/19/2005 11:32:42 PM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog |
By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein
Times Staff Writers
Fri Aug 19, 7:55 AM ET
WASHINGTON — As a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration, John G. Roberts Jr. did not spend all of his time analyzing the great legal issues of the day. Instead, judging from the thousands of pages of his files that were released Thursday, the Supreme Court nominee spent much of his time acting as a gatekeeper and editor for the president.
He repeatedly tried to keep President Reagan's friends from taking advantage of his office. He sought to keep the president from lending his name or office to promoting commercial interests. Sometimes, he intervened to keep Reagan from saying things he might regret.
When actor Jimmy Stewart wrote to Reagan in 1983 to ask him to serve on an advisory board for his son's prep school in Arizona, for instance, Roberts wrote a stern memo advising that the president "should not accept Stewart's invitation." The school planned to use Reagan's name to raise money. It would be "demeaning to the [president's] office, using it as a huckster's ploy," Roberts wrote.
When some wealthy Republicans from Dallas invited the Reagans to a gala dinner, Roberts advised against attending on the grounds that sponsors were using the event as part of the grand opening of a shopping mall.
In December of 1985, Jerry Weintraub, chief executive of United Artists, offered to have actor Sylvester Stallone personally give Reagan the boxing gloves and robe he wore in the newly released "Rocky IV." The gifts were to end up in the Smithsonian Institution, Weintraub said.
Roberts said the president should decline the offer. It "is a rather transparent publicity stunt to promote the film," he said in a memo to his boss, White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding.
And when a publicist for Michael Jackson proposed in 1984 that Reagan thank the pop star for giving tickets to needy youngsters so they could attend a Washington concert, Roberts demurred. "I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson's records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend we do not approve this letter," he wrote.
He gave the same advice even when the cause was dear to Reagan's heart.
In January of 1985, the president was asked to speak to a group of corporate executives who had shown a willingness to support Nicaraguan refugees. "I recommend stopping any White House involvement in this effort," Roberts wrote, adding that the president should not participate in private fundraising.
Comments reflecting Roberts' political views were rare in the more than 38,000 pages of files that were released Thursday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Simi Valley and by the National Archives in Washington. With the papers released Monday, the files contain all of the material from the Reagan Library that was written by or compiled in the office where Roberts worked from 1982 to 1986.
Instead of providing insight into his beliefs or reinforcing the conservative ideology found in some papers released earlier, the documents offered a glimpse into Roberts' personality — his wry sense of humor, his efforts to steer Reagan clear of controversy, and his attention to detail — even punctuation.
And they shed light on the often dry, tedious work of a young White House lawyer who, in addition to dispensing advice on complex legal issues and congressional legislation, responded to mail sent to the White House from citizens. He even issued a memo about a Christmas party invitation: "The only change I am considering is a more festive color."
Roberts also said "thanks, but no thanks" was the right response to an $8-billion crime-fighting strategy proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) (R-Pa.). The proposals "are the epitome of the 'throw money at the problem' approach" to crime fighting, Roberts wrote. His blunt rejection of Specter's idea may not sit well with the Pennsylvania senator, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is to begin confirmation hearings on Roberts' nomination in September.
Sometimes, Roberts objected to words and phrases in Reagan's speeches.
In October of 1984, the president was set to conclude a campaign speech in South Carolina with the rousing line that the United States was "the greatest nation God ever created."
Roberts said he had no legal objection to the president's prepared remarks. He added, however, that the final line struck him as "ill-advised and, particularly in the light of the focus on the religion and politics issue, a likely candidate for the 'Reaganism of the Week.' "
"According to Genesis, God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and fishes, but not nations," Roberts wrote.
His commitment to Reagan was clear: In his April 1986 letter of resignation, Roberts wrote to the president: "My years in your service will always be very special to me. The inspiration you have given me will burn brightly in my heart long after I have left the lights of the White House behind."
Some of the boxes of records opened to public scrutiny Thursday were filled with memos in which Roberts recommended that the White House deny requests for the president to be photographed while — among other things — reading the Washington Times, working out in Nike apparel or riding in a Jeep, or requests for presidential messages commemorating the anniversary of Disneyland or the opening of a shopping mall in Arizona.
Roberts routinely said the White House should strictly adhere to the policy of "not permitting use of the president's name, likeness or photograph in any manner that suggests or could be construed as an endorsement by the president of a commercial product or enterprise."
After a car accident, Roberts sounded a bit like others who believed they had unjustly received traffic tickets when he wrote, in a 1984 memo to Fielding, his boss, that he had to leave work to fight a ticket he had received.
"I was cited for 'failure to devote full time and attention' — a laughable catch-all charge that the prosecution will be hard-pressed to prove.
"The ticket was for a mere $25," he added, "but having never been cited for a moving violation in my entire 15 years of driving, and feeling confident I was not at fault in this instance (and of course fearful of an increase in my insurance rates), I have decided to take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary."
Savage and Simon reported from Washington and Weinstein from Simi Valley.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)|
|To: Bill who wrote (247)||9/4/2005 12:57:28 PM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|The more I read about Roberts, the more I like him. He is a literate, principled, intelligent man with a sense of humor. He also has enough real world experience to understand the difference between theoretical concepts and the realities of life. He has the temperament to make a good Chief Justice. I’m sure that the Bush people are giving that possibility some thought today.|
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)|
|To: Bill who wrote (249)||1/21/2006 5:00:21 PM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|Reagan's legacy at crossroads|
25 years after oath, his agenda endures. But is the GOP adrift?
By William Neikirk
Tribune senior correspondent
Published January 21, 2006
WASHINGTON -- On a warm Jan. 20 morning precisely 25 years ago, Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in an inaugural ceremony that served as the catalyst for the conservative movement that now dominates each branch of the federal government.
Whether it's tax cuts, deregulation, a strong defense or judicial and cultural conservatism, Reagan policies have become firmly embedded throughout American society. "Reagan is more powerful today than when he was president," said Martin Anderson, one of his White House advisers.
There is fresh evidence throughout the capital. Two young lawyers who worked for Reagan--Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito--are expected to have a major impact on the nation's legal system for many years, as a result of being named to the court by President Bush. Conservative Republicans hold leadership posts in the House and Senate. And Bush's politics seem much more closely tied to Reagan than to those of Bush's father, who was Reagan's vice president.
But that movement is now at a juncture nearly as important as Reagan's election, with the continued power of "Reaganism" called into question. The blunt force of Bush's defense policy in Iraq is being challenged. And rising government expenditures and political corruption in Congress have combined to vex Republicans with midterm elections rapidly approaching.
Some conservatives are worried.
"We're at the biggest crossroads since Reagan won the nomination in 1980," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fervent Reagan disciple, said in an interview. "We face very large challenges and we have no absolute proof yet that we are going to take the right position in meeting those challenges."
Part of the problem is a fracturing from within. Business-oriented pragmatists, deficit hawks, cultural conservatives, Christian activists, libertarians, neoconservatives -- all have different agendas, and all claim the mantle of Reagan, sometimes in the name of things he never accomplished, such as balancing the budget.
"The Reagan legacy is very vulnerable because George W. Bush has embraced it so wholeheartedly," said Michael Genovese, political science professor at Loyola Marymount University. "Bush is the model, not the father, of the legacy. So much of the Reagan legacy is dependent on the Bush legacy."
Even more than his own father, who followed Reagan in the White House, the president has adopted Reagan's ideas, cutting taxes, building up the military because of a terrorist threat and embracing a conservative social and cultural agenda. He also has pushed to enhance the power of the presidency, as Reagan did during his two terms.
Yet to conservatives such as Gingrich and Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), the GOP has strayed too far from the Reagan agenda.
"It is the abandonment of Reagan's policies that has gotten us in trouble," said Feeney, who is sharply critical of spending increases in recent years with the GOP in charge of government.
"Reagan was an ideologue," said Mallory Factor, a New York businessman who heads a political group that contributes to conservatives. "He had a simple message and simple programs. We have lost that in our society." He blamed GOP leaders in Congress who have "drunk the water out of the Potomac" River and, he added, lost touch with Reagan's ideas.
"If we're not the party of reform and we try to run as the party of pork, we'll lose," Gingrich said. "Reagan was about reform. He was not about pork."
Legacy in judiciary
Within the federal judiciary, the Reagan influence has enormous reach, culminating with the selection of Roberts as chief justice and Alito's expected confirmation.
Herman Schwartz, a law professor at American University, said the federal judiciary is increasingly taking a right-leaning direction with more conservative nominations over the years.
Edwin Meese, Reagan's attorney general, said he believes the GOP will survive the current challenges and that Reaganism will continue as a powerful influence in American politics. So did Ralph Reed, a Republican operative and former head of the Christian Coalition who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia.
Meese said the scandals over influence-peddling in Congress are bipartisan and that the GOP will be able to weather criticism over the Iraq war in this year's elections.
Historian Robert Dallek said both Reagan and John Kennedy "remain inspirational voices" long after their presidencies.
"But when you go through the scandals we have seen, the doubts that have been raised about Bush and the Iraq war, the recriminations [over spying] by the National Security Agency, Reagan and Kennedy become all the more appealing," he added.
Reed said Reagan gave the Christian evangelical movement a boost by embracing its agenda after his nomination in 1980, although Reed conceded that the former president did not push some of the movement's causes actively during his two terms. Even so, evangelicals still hold Reagan in high esteem, said William Martin, a Rice University sociology professor and an author of books on the Christian right.
"He was the first president to say he favored restricting abortion on demand," Reed said. "That was a critical moment."
As Democrats criticize Republicans for fostering a "culture of corruption" in Washington, Reed said if the GOP is able to enact lobbying reforms as promised it can overcome the scandals. He said Democrats failed in the 1990s to make internal reforms when several scandals erupted in the House.
Reed has been caught up in the corruption scandal because of his business dealings with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. His public relations and lobbying companies received at least $4.2 million through Abramoff's firm to mobilize voters against Indian casino gambling.
But Reed said he did nothing wrong. "I was assured by the law firm at the onset that funds contributed to my effort would not derive from gambling activity," he said, adding that "if I had known what I know now, I would not have done that work."
Scandals such as Iran-contra also hounded the Reagan administration. The large deficits that he ran up also bring criticism. But 25 years later, his philosophy still drives GOP politics even as a major test looms for Republicans in 2006 elections.
Nostalgia for Reagan remains high in the GOP. Anne Davis Burns, a public relations official for a trade association, helped with the inaugural ticket operation on Jan. 20, 1981, and had a front-row seat for the swearing-in. She remembers clearly when Reagan appeared on stage.
"He was kind of larger than life," she said. And to many Republicans, he still is.
- - -
Still an inspiration
Voices of ideological disciples of the Reagan Revolution:
-- Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, ran Youth for Reagan in Virginia in the 1976 primaries. He called Reagan "my modern-day philosophical hero," adding, "Reagan is the man who inspired me to enter into politics while I was a law student at the University of Virginia."
-- Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a conservative and deficit hawk: "While Reagan was deeply committed to traditional values and a strong defense, to understand him was to realize he was a man committed to limited government. This meant things like local control of schools and reforming our government, and not creating new entitlements. He's the reason I became a Republican."
-- Ralph Reed, Christian Coalition founder and now a GOP candidate in Georgia, recalled how Reagan won over evangelical Christians in 1980. "Reagan said, `I know you can't endorse me, but I want you to know I endorse you.' That formal embrace by the Republican Party and by its presidential nominee, who went on to become the president, gave an imprimatur and a seal of approval."
-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) spent the last six years of Reagan's presidency in the Air Force. "My first impression of Ronald Reagan was, I really liked this guy. . . . I thought he was a cool dude, I thought he had a great sense of humor, he made conservatism not only acceptable but cool, and he brought a dignity but a personal touch to office that it needed."
-- William Neikirk and Tribune news services
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Glenn Petersen||3/6/2006 8:39:27 PM|
|Some sad news about Lyn Nofziger:|
An Old Hand's Ode to Two Loves
Former Reagan communications and strategy aide Lyn Nofziger isn't just sitting around as he fights an uphill battle against bone cancer. He's creating a tribute to his two passions: conservative journalism and Ronald Reagan. With the support of important friends like former Attorney General Ed Meese, he has created the Lyn Nofziger Fellowship in Journalistic Excellence. The goal is to raise $500,000 to foster college kids interested in Reagan's conservative revolution and values. "He feels this is the best way to honor Ronald Reagan," says friend Cindy Canevaro. She says he is upbeat even though his cancer is progressing rapidly. Canevaro's brother, Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation, says that to cheer up the beloved curmudgeon, several friends cut a video filled with their recollections of Nofziger's work for the Gipper. "He really had no idea that he meant so much to so many people," says Tapscott.
Lyn's website and blog can be found at:
I heartily recommend his autobiography:
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Glenn Petersen||3/28/2006 7:32:46 AM|
|Lyn Nofziger, 81, Irreverent Adviser to Reagan, Is Dead|
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: March 28, 2006
LOS ANGELES, March 27 — Lyn Nofziger, the cigar-chomping former newspaperman who served as spokesman and strategist for Ronald Reagan in Sacramento and Washington, died of cancer on Monday at his home in Falls Church, Va. He was 81.
Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, said: "Lyn was with us from the gubernatorial campaign in 1965 through the early White House days, and Ronnie valued his advice — and good humor — as much as anyone's. I spoke with him just days ago and even though he knew the end was near, Lyn was hopeful and still in good spirits."
Mr. Nofziger was at the hospital with Reagan after he was shot in March 1981 and relayed to the press the president's memorable, if perhaps apocryphal, line to Mrs. Reagan at the hospital: "Honey, I forgot to duck."
Mr. Nofziger was a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Copley newspaper chain when he was recruited to serve as the spokesman for Reagan's first campaign for governor of California in 1966.
Stuart Spencer, who managed that campaign and Reagan's later campaigns for the White House, recalled Mr. Nofziger as profane, disheveled and always quick with a quip. Mr. Spencer said he still had the Mickey Mouse tie Mr. Nofziger gave him years ago. The difference between them, Mr. Spencer said, was that Mr. Nofziger regularly wore his.
Mr. Nofziger frequently expressed his disdain for Washington and for politics, but he kept returning. He put up a cynical facade that endeared him to the reporters he dealt with, but he remained devoted to Reagan, even though he was never part of the president's innermost circle.
Ms. Dahmen, a great-niece of Mr. Nofziger, told The Associated Press on Monday: "He transcended parties; he was loved on both sides of the aisle. You could love him or hate him, but everybody respected him."
Despite his service in the Reagan and Nixon White Houses, Mr. Nofziger was not a doctrinaire conservative. He could, however, take the gloves off when he felt it necessary to serve the boss, either as a communications aide to Richard M. Nixon or as a political director for Reagan.
He worked under Reagan to replace Democrats in the federal bureaucracy with loyal Republicans. John Dean, Nixon's White House counsel, wrote that Mr. Nofziger had helped compile the Nixon White House's "enemies list."
Kenneth L. Khachigian, who worked with Mr. Nofziger in the Nixon White House and remained close to him afterward, said Mr. Nofziger had enlivened meetings, sometimes to the president's displeasure. "He could be infuriating because he never seemed to take things seriously," Mr. Khachigian said. "But on the other hand, he was utterly loyal and devoted to Reagan."
Like several former Reaganites, Mr. Nofziger opened a lobbying practice in Washington after leaving the White House. In 1988, he was convicted of illegally lobbying for two defense contractors and a labor union. Mr. Nofziger dismissed the charges as trivial and told the judge he felt no remorse because he did not believe he was guilty.
A year later a federal appeals court threw out the conviction, saying prosecutors had failed to show he had knowingly committed a crime.
Franklyn Nofziger was a native Californian, born in Bakersfield on June 8, 1924, and a self-described conservative by the time he entered college. He served in the Army and attended San Jose State College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. He worked in journalism for 16 years as a reporter and editor, and took his manual typewriter with him to the White House even after electric typewriters and then computers rendered it obsolete.
In a 2003 interview with the University of Virginia, as part of its presidential oral history project, Mr. Nofziger conceded that he never would have imagined going into politics. But in 1966, he took a position as press secretary for Reagan's campaign for governor. He served as the governor's director of communications for nearly two years.
Mr. Nofziger's friends said he could be candid to a fault, which sometimes strained his relations with Mr. and Mrs. Reagan. In 1991, when the president dismissed three former close aides, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, from the board of the Reagan Presidential Library, Mr. Nofziger wrote a scathing op-ed article for The Washington Post. He said Mr. Reagan had broken his heart by turning his back on friends.
"Yes, I know you were a long way from being a perfect president," Mr. Nofziger wrote. "I thought that sometimes you listened to and took bad advice. I thought that toward the end you were paying too much attention to what history might think of you — a mistake most presidents make."
He went on, "But still, while on a scale of 1 to 10 you were more nearly a 7 than a 10, you remained my hero because it's hard to visualize anybody else scoring more than a 5 — at least on my scale. But today, Mr. President, and I weep because of it, you are no longer my hero."
He said Mr. Reagan had forgotten old loyalties and walked away from old friends. "You have let Nancy and the rich and beautiful people with whom she has surrounded herself and you force off the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library three of the most dedicated and selfless Reaganites there are."
Mr. Nofziger wrote four western novels and a political autobiography, "Nofziger."
But those who know him remember not his serious writings but his puns and quips and bits of doggerel. Among them is a limerick that he penned after the doomed nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court last year, which appears on his Web site, www.lynnofziger.com:
Conservatives are fearful that Harriet
Will be George Bush's Iscariot.
They have little doubt
That she'd sell them out
For a ride in a liberal's chariot.
Mr. Nofziger is survived by his wife, Bonnie, their daughter Glenda and two grandchildren. Another daughter died in 1989.
Carolyn Marshall contributed reporting from San Francisco for this article.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|