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Be Like Lyn

Lyn Nofziger’s controversial comments in today’s Washington Times, deserves some comment.  In it, Nofziger says he “sees a GOP with no focus.”

"They’ve been in power too long," Mr. Nofziger says of Republicans. "Any time you put any political party in power for too long, it becomes corrupt. It loses its focus. It forgets why it came there."

…Tough words from a tough man.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some Republicans resent this critique.  Oh, well.

Lyn Nofziger’s specialty is saying things he means.  He’s been doing that for years, so there’s no reason to stop, now.  And because he has earned the right to say it, I don’t think you will hear any members of Congress calling this man a “coward.” 

With age comes the freedom and confidence to quit caring what others think of you.  At a certain age, you’ve seen births, deaths, and illness.  You’ve seen the guys on top lose it all, so there’s a freedom and liberation that comes with age.  But the truth is, Lyn Nofziger has never been afraid to take a controversial stand.

On a personal note, Lyn Nofziger has gone out of his way to mentor me – and countless other young conservatives – over the years.  He has given his time and energy, meeting us breakfasts, and bestowed advice to numerous young conservatives.  He has spoken at countless conservative conferences and training programs.  For this, we owe him a debt of gratitude.

But as generous as he’s been with his time, he’s never held back on that acerbic wit, either.  On one occasion of our meeting, he told a fellow diner that he needed to lose some weight (in fairness, this was an accurate statement).  Once, upon learning the young lady accompanying us was from Michigan, he made a humorous, but less than flattering remark about his old foe, Gerald Ford (something to do with the former football star not wearing a helmet).  It was all in fun.  And you know what?  In today’s politically correct world, it’s refreshing to talk with someone who tells it like it is. 

Maybe we can all learn a lesson from this man: Not to sound like Jerry McGuire’s “mission statement” here, but I didn’t get involved in politics to be some “yes man.”  I believed deeply in conservative issues, and love the romance of being able to change things and say grand things that make a difference.  That’s the romance of politics that can sometimes be lost when young politico’s get caught up in the machinery and minutia.  We must always remind ourselves why we do this: To Change America.

Most people know of Lyn Nofziger, the political guru who was with Reagan from the very beginning.  Few people know of the young man who stormed the beaches of Normandy (because he never talks of this).  By the way, the only reason I even know this is from reading Reagan’s Revolution by Craig Shirley.

Before joining the Reagan for Governor camaign, Lyn Nofziger was a reporter – and in those days (think Jack Germond), being a reporter was more interesting.  Like Reagan, Lyn Nofziger got involved in politics fairly late in life – after he was married – and pretty comfortable in his own skin. 

I suspect this late political entry has something to do with the fact that Reagan and Nofziger both said the things that ordinary people were afraid to say, like “Tear down this wall.”

Lyn Nofziger is his own man.  Not beholden to, “toe the party line.”  He has achieved what the Kipling must have thougth when wrote that to be a man, you must be able to “walk with kings—nor lose the common touch.”

We should all aspire to this.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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