William A. Rusher, R.I.P.

Lee Edwards /

Although a man of many high talents—author, syndicated columnist, television host, college lecturer, political strategist, think tank fellow—William A. Rusher was invariably described as the “Other Bill” because of his decades-long association with William F. Buckley Jr.

Bill Rusher was National Review’s and Bill Buckley’s publisher for 30 years. He was a frequent guest on Buckley’s Firing Line. He was the master of ceremonies at numerous NR events. The two Bills were photographed together more than most married couples.

And yet Bill Rusher deserves full recognition as a major figure of the modern American conservative movement. He was the catalyst for the National Draft Goldwater Committee, without which Barry Goldwater would not have been nominated for president in 1964 and Ronald Reagan would not have made his historic TV address, “A Time for Choosing,” which made him a national political star overnight and led to his running for governor of California two years later. The calculus is simple: No candidate Goldwater in 1964, no President Reagan in 1980. (more…)