By Joe Holley
David Nyhan, 64, a former Boston Globe columnist who usually viewed politics and politicians from a liberal perspective, died Jan. 23 of an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow at his home in Brookline, Mass.
Mr. Nyhan spent 32 years at the Globe, working as a reporter, an editor and, beginning in 1985, a regular columnist. He also was the author "The Duke," a 1988 biography of former Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis.
In his columns, he was proudly populist and usually pro-Democratic Party, although not always. He admired Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and urged him to run for president. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who sought his party's presidential nomination and is now a senator, also was a favorite.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said in a statement: "He could get to the heart of a matter faster than anyone I have ever known. And he did it with a sharp wit and a unique style. . . . A Nyhan column over breakfast was a perfect way to start the day, even if it caused a little sudden indigestion."
Kennedy said that an essay Mr. Nyhan wrote was instrumental in Boston's being chosen to host the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
"He was a fun-loving, gregarious man who seemed to know virtually everyone in politics, whether it was at City Hall, the State House or in our nation's capital," Globe spokesman Alfred S. Larkin Jr. said.
Mr. Nyhan left the paper in 2002 but continued to write a twice-weekly column for four newspapers owned by the Eagle-Tribune Co., north of Boston. He also wrote speeches for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D) and was to leave this week on a month-long trip to Sri Lanka, where he planned to write about a group of doctors and nurses involved in tsunami relief work.
A column about CBS newsman Dan Rather was vintage Nyhan. He noted that the story that got Rather in trouble -- a report that relied on bogus memos about alleged favorable treatment President Bush received years ago from the Texas Air National Guard -- was basically accurate and had been reported in the Globe in 2000. Voters gave the president the benefit of the doubt, Mr. Nyhan wrote, because they "yearn for a father figure in the White House. They don't like to think Daddy lies, cheats or steals."
He was born Charles David Nyhan Jr. in Boston and grew up in Brookline, Mass. At Harvard University, he majored in English and played on the varsity football and lacrosse teams.
After serving in the Air Force, he joined the Salem (Mass.) Evening News and then worked in the Associated Press's Massachusetts bureaus in Springfield and Boston. He joined the Globe in 1969 as State House bureau chief.
Survivors include his wife, Olivia Nyhan of Brookline; three
children, Veronica Jones of Washington, Kate Nyhan of Brookline
and Nicholas Nyhan of New York; a sister; two brothers; and two