One of the co-founders of the American conservative movement, William A. Rusher, passed away this week at the age of 87. Rusher was a political advisor, debater, publisher, columnist, author and founder of a number of conservative organizations.
Rusher served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He became an attorney while active in New York politics and was appointed associate counsel of the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, a position that suited his anti-Communist views.
William F. Buckley hired Rusher as publisher of the National Review. Serving as the link between the magazine and conservative and Republican politics, he emphasized the need for National Review to be the leader of the conservative movement. Rusher strove for unity within the movement, i.e. of both fiscal and social conservatives.
In the 1960s, Rusher helped found Young Americans for Freedom, the New York State Conservative Party and the American Conservative Union, the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the U.S. He played a major role in the drafting of conservative Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for President. Goldwater’s nomination by the Republican Party marked the first nomination of a modern conservative for president by a major American political party.
Meanwhile, Rusher became a political advisor of Ronald Reagan. He encouraged Reagan’s campaigns for the Republican nomination for president in 1968 and 1976. Rusher’s efforts paid off at long last in 1980 with the nomination and election of Reagan as President. He regarded the Reagan Presidency the greatest success of the conservative movement.
Rusher was a highly skilled debater on radio and television and popular syndicated columnist. He skewered the left thoroughly, exposing the fallacy of its arguments without conceding any good intentions on the part of liberals for their support of bad policies.
William Rusher has left the conservative movement a great legacy. May Rusher’s example of intellectual integrity and confidence inspire us to continue to promote conservative principles of good government.
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