Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tom Kaptain on Nofziger's Professionalism

To me the most impressive thing he did in terms of consulting accomplishments was his work for Mike Curb against George Deukmejian even though he lost. It’s hard for people to remember this, but at the time of that race, there was some question as to how conservative Mike Curb really was and how much he was just out for himself. Curb had supported Reagan, but he had also run a very hard hitting campaign against Mike Antonovich in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor four years before and had been supported by the moderate faction of the Republican party. On the other hand, Duke was a very well known and prominent conservative that no one had any doubts about.

However, to Nofziger, the race came down to the fact that Curb had raised significant money for Ronald Reagan in the face of pressure from the Ford White House when it looked like Reagan had no chance to win (Before the North Carolina primary). He basically browbeat conservatives into supporting Curb when most started off leaning the other way. He had so much clout among conservatives that several newspapers referred to Duekmejian as the moderate Republican in the race because they assumed Nofziger had to be for the conservative. Curb came up short, but Lyn got a lot of support for him in places where no one thought it was possible and in a lot of places where it still amazes me because you don’t see how it could be possible. Part of the credibility he had was in the fact that he never tried to come across as anything more than an average guy. He was in politics to stick up for average guys and he never forgot it.

Probably the last time I had a serious conversation about politics with him was back in the early 90’s when there was a special election for the State Assembly going on between several very conservative Republicans. He called (which surprised me because I was way below his pay grade if you will) and said he was trying to figure out if there was some way to get Democratic support for one of the candidates. He never said who the candidate was, but I believe it was Lou Barnett, because Barnett was also a Reaganaut and had lived in Burbank (where I lived) for many years and was generally liked as a nice guy. I told him that all of the candidates were way too far to the right for anyone to publicly support them, but that if he wanted to design a mailer, I would be glad to help with targeting and such. Basically, after some back and forth, Nofziger decided to pass on the idea (and so did a couple of other people I pitched the idea to because I was hoping for work), but shortly after the election, I saw him at a consultants convention and we talked about how important it was for people in politics to be able to work across party and ideological lines without compromising their core values. Too many people in politics forget that ideal nowadays (at both ends, some are too quick to compromise, some are unwilling to work with others).


At 3/28/2006 9:14 AM, Blogger brandon_waters said...

Pete St. John - did you get my email?

At 3/28/2006 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to add so that no one thinks I am on an ego trip that I got an email from Pete St. John asking me if I knew anything else about Lyn Nofziger that was worth sharing. I didn't expect the banner headline.

Tom Kaptain


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