There have been many warm appreciations written about Lyn Nofziger. But they give short shrift to two essential qualities of the man. He had grit and he was a visionary.
It is easy to forget just how daunting the road was in 1975. The Reaganauts proposed to unseat an incumbent president in the primaries. Nofziger and others really believed that Reagan could take a minority party crippled by Watergate and realign the political balance of power.
Because that realignment happened, we act as though the Reagan Revolution was inevitable. It certainly did not look that way in 1976. The GOP establishment was solidly behind Ford. Reagan stumbled in the early primaries and fell far behind in the delegate count.
All the pragmatic political types wanted Reagan to get out of the race and ride off into the sunset.
Lyn Nofziger did not lose faith. Reagan came back to make a race of it in 1976 and, after Ford's defeat, was the front runner in 1980. The Reagan Revolution was ready for launch.
None of that could have happened if it wasn't for Reaganauts like Nofziger who persevered in the tough times of 1976.
Grit and vision.