The central role Bill Rusher played at NR is underappreciated. He helped NR stick to its central mission and principles. He helped solve the numerous problems that inevitably face a young publication. He used his legal skills to keep NR out of trouble. In short, he played a vital role in keeping everything progressing smoothly for the magazine.
In latter years he was a voice for principle within the conservative movement and a constant source of encouragement for capable young conservatives.
Personally, I will remember with appreciation the way he worked with my father over the years at NR and a number of wonderful lunches we had in San Francisco after his retirement. And I will remember a number of his quips. To mention just one, Rusher’s Third Law: “When difficulties become great enough, they tend to cancel each other out.” The example he gave was the man who received a notice that he owed the IRS $500,000 in back taxes. The man was on death row at the time.
Bill had a truly critical career in the conservative movement and was a wonderful man to know. Rest in peace, Bill.— Eugene Meyer is president of the Federalist Society.
I just lost my oldest friend.
I have known some friends longer than I knew William A. Rusher and have others with whom I am closer. But none of my other friends has spent 87 years on earth, as he did.
If memory serves, Bill Rusher and I first met at a Youth for Reagan event at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit. Bill was the much-respected publisher of National Review
, a syndicated columnist, and one of the leading lights of the American Right. I was a 16-year-old Youth for Reagan delegate from Los Angeles, thrilled to play a small part as a teenager who waved placards and screamed for a Reagan victory. While that was just a passing encounter, we got to know each other better at CPAC meetings in 1983 and 1984, and subsequently met many times over the years.
Bill Rusher was terrific about taking me to lunch and dinner to chat about politics, ideas, and — as I became better traveled — fun, interesting, and beautiful spots around the world. He told me last year that one of his greatest accomplishments was encouraging me to see Lake Como, Italy, of which he was terribly fond, and which I was lucky enough to visit in 2007.
I will miss Bill Rusher for many things — his quick wit, his stalwart commitment to conservative principles, and his constant willingness to stay in touch, from Washington, D.C., to New York City, to San Francisco, where he spent his retirement. More than anything else, I marveled at his Cary Grant–like polish and sophistication. His combination of elegance, worldliness, and old-school class are the sorts of attributes that become rarer by the day. He had those qualities in sufficient quantities to fill 100 champagne ice buckets. And I am so sorry that Bill Rusher’s other friends and I no longer will be able to enjoy them with him.
— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist.