Football Star and Former V.P. nominee Jack Kemp dead at 73

Some sad news, that I put off blogging about until now. I was not going to even blog about it. Namely because I did not know a thing about the man. So, I won’t pretend that I do.

Here’s a round up of comments about the passing of Jack Kemp:

“Jack Kemp was a leader – whether it was in a football huddle, a national political campaign or a policy discussion about the Austrian school of economics.

“I first met Jack nearly 40 years ago, during his freshman year in Congress. When he introduced The Jobs Creation Act – a major legislative advance of supply-side economics – I knew I had found an ally. That ally soon became my friend

“Jack was a ‘bleeding-heart conservative.’ He wanted to make it possible for every American to succeed and eagerly worked with people of all races, colors and creeds toward that end.

“Across-the-board tax cuts and ‘enterprise zones’ for blighted neighborhoods are now common economic prescriptions – especially during these hard times. But to make these ideas respectable, Jack had to fight for them constantly during his years in Congress, as Housing and Urban Development secretary, as chairman of a national tax reform commission, and during his presidential and vice presidential campaigns.

“He won those fights, and millions benefited. The tax cuts that Jack helped engineer in the 1980s gave Americans unprecedented prosperity for decades. His commission also boldly proposed a national flat tax. Those policies also helped spread freedom around the world.

“I remember standing with him in Moscow’s Red Square in 1990. The Cold War was starting to thaw, but few even suspected that the Soviet Union’s days were numbered. Jack knew. As we stood on the square, in view of the Kremlin, he pointed out an astonishing sign: The line for the new McDonald’s restaurant was longer than the line for Lenin’s tomb.

“Many people will remember Jack as a great football player – and rightly so. But he was also a great player in the world of ideas, with a mind as strong as his arm. I will miss his strength and friendship greatly.” —Edwin Feulner -President -Heritage Foundation


For those of us who came of age politically after Reagan was President, Jack Kemp was, if not Reagan, then the next best thing. He was arguably the most consequential and electric conservative between Reagan and Newt. Had Kemp run for President in 1996, I would have been his first volunteer (I missed ’88). Of course, Kemp’s contributions to the cause of freedom long predated that time, having helped Reagan break the grip of an oppressive marginal tax regime. —Patrick Ruffini – Founder – The Next Right


The “Kemp-Roth” tax cuts were at the cornerstone of Ronald Reagan’s early legacy as president and his brand of fiscal conservatism and innovative ideas to spur the entrepreneurial spirit were a huge part of the Republican Party of my formative period.  By 1996, when he ran with Bob Dole, has was becoming an outlier in the party because of his relative moderation on social issues like affirmative action (thus the “bleeding-heart” descriptor). – James Joyner – Outside the Beltway


As the nation struggles with the trillion-dollar deficits and promises from Democrats to increase the role of government—the very government that got us into this hole in the first place—the ramparts of the free market will not be manned by Jack Kemp. – No Sheeples Here!


Jack Kemp, in my mind, was the premier Republican on race relations in American politics. No one spoke to the power of markets and opportunity to empower black Americans as he did. His agenda as HUD Secretary in the first Bush administration would still be light years ahead if its time if applied today. We need more conservatives like him. What a wonderful man, and a great loss to the nation. – Donald Douglas — American Power


“A successor to Ronald Reagan who himself has not had a successor. When his cancer was announced earlier this year, Jeff Lord wrote movingly about him and the greatness he had in him. I remember him from several live moments. Once at an American Spectator gala dinner right after the fall of Communism. “Wlady, did you think Vaclav Havel would be president of Czechoslovakia?” he asked from the podium. We always forget what a champion of freedom he was not just at home. Bob Tyrrell had introduced Jack as a perfect specimen of “sound body, sound mind.” Was he ever. I remember him on the floor of the San Diego convention in 1996. He was the announced vice-presidential nominee, basking in adulation and adoring fans. But he shut everyone up around him at that moment, his eyes rapt in attention directed at the podium, where Rep. J.C. Watts was delivering that evening’s keynote. You didn’t mess with Jack when he was in charge. Everyone quickly got quiet and paid attention to Watts too. Jack’s football position was quarterback — but in fact his position was leader. Even at the small Saturday Evening Club dinner he once attended as our guest, where he felt called upon to tell other guests when to come to the table and where to sit. He couldn’t help himself. Wherever man still wants to breathe freely, his memory will remain cherished. Jack Kemp in all his splendid energy will be terribly missed.” —  Wlady Pleszczynski – The American Spectator


“He was a true gentleman and a great sportsman” – Charles Johnson – Little Green Footballs


Kemp had the courage to move beyond the usual issues for conservatives, choosing to work on poverty and housing issues, and challenging his fellow conservatives to make conservatism work across the board.  It’s one of the reasons why Kemp will be missed. — Ed Morrissey – HotAir


Didn’t agree with him on many core issues, but he was a GOP institution with a wonderful family. – Michelle Malkin


At a time when conservatives are trying to find their way ideologically and rhetorically, they would do well to emulate this most happy and principled warrior. He will be greatly missed. — Jennifer Rubin – Commentary Magazine’s Contentions


Kemp and those around him liked to explain his political outlook in part by reference to his encounters with racial segregation while a professional football player.  Kemp found it stomach-turning that his black teammates were denied whites’ accommodations in the South simply on account of their race.  In this, as in much else about him, there is a great deal to admire.  It helps to account for the fact that in the 1980s, many were happy to consider ourselves Kemp supporters—and thought him far the best candidate for president in 1988. — Kevin R. C. Gutzman – Taki’s Magazine

So, there you have it. The round up of voices on the man. May He Rest in Peace and My Prayers to the family.

Update: Right on Schedule, The far lefty loons are attacking this man with fury. See here and here. I guess they had to sleep it off first. But, there you go…. The tolerance and civility of the Democrat Party. You see now, why I’ll never vote for another Liberal Democrat? Amazing. :roll:

2 thoughts on “Football Star and Former V.P. nominee Jack Kemp dead at 73

  1. Nice survey on the man, thanks Paleo. I do not ultimately think Kemp’s style– the consummate nice guy, much along Reagan lines– is the mode that any longer will win adherents to our side. No, we do not want subhuman freaks like Al Franken on our team, but we do need very forceful, uncowed fighters, unafraid to roust and put down the other side. Sadly, I do not see Michael Steele as this type of much needed conservative leader. The other day, subbing on the radio for Bill Bennett, he actually described Arlen Specter (post party-switch) as, overall, a “good guy.” Anyway, God rest Jack Kemp’s soul– a fine man who served our nation admirably.

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