Mr. Evans was the editor of The Indianapolis News, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, a radio and television commentator, a journalism teacher and the author of a raft of books, including a defense of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, in his anti-communist crusade.That book, Blacklisted By History, even gets a fair synopsis;
His 2007 book, “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies,” argued that while McCarthy might have made mistakes and occasionally gone too far in his campaign to root out communists from government, he did identify many subversives and “summoned the nation to a firm-willed resistance to the communist challenge, both abroad and on the home front.”Which is a lot better than 99% of the pieces on McCarthy the Times published over the years. The other accomplishments of Evans included;
The Sharon Statement — so-called because the founding meeting was held at William F. Buckley Jr.’s home in Sharon, Conn. — drew on the major streams of conservative thought, including religious freedom, free-market economics and an unbending resistance to communism.
.... Mr. Evans worked to unify conservatives for many years, especially as head of the American Conservative Union from 1971 to 1977. Under Mr. Evans, the conservative union, which sought to function as an umbrella organization for the right, took a hard line in dealing with the White House, even when a Republican occupied it.
.... Under Mr. Evans, the conservative union joined the landmark case testing the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974. With other plaintiffs, including the generally liberal American Civil Liberties Union, the conservative union argued that limits on campaign contributions and spending violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.Which, in Buckley v. Valeo, led to independent expenditures for political campaigns being held legal, and eventuated in Ronald Reagan's election to the White House.
RIP a gentle, and little known, giant of American political journalism.