Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 2, 2009

Just saw this reported: Jack Kemp, a giant of the modern conservative movement, has died after a bout with cancer. Kemp never won national or even statewide office, and his gravelly wonkishness wasn't always the epitome of charisma, but his political career was a testament to the power of ideas, simple ideas like human freedom and the potential of the individual to do better for himself than the government could ever do for him. He was an inspiration to everyone who believed that the interests of government are not the purpose of government. Ronald Reagan inspired many people in politics, but Reagan didn't get to be Reagan alone, and then-Congressman Kemp was one of the people who inspired Reagan's belief in the transformative incentive power of reducing taxes on the last dollar of income earned. Before entering politics, Kemp was a heckuva quarterback, compiling a 65-37-3 record as a starter in the AFL, playing in championship games for LA and San Diego before winning two AFL titles for the Buffalo Bills. Kemp was also the rare HUD secretary who left office well-regarded rather than under investigation or indictment. He was added to the GOP ticket in 1996 when Bob Dole realized his campaign needed ideas - and Jack Kemp, though an ordinary guy, not an intellectual, was synonymous with ideas. And he was, most of all, a happy warrior, like Reagan - a guy who took visible joy in politics because he always believed that if you gave people the ability to keep their own piece of the pie, we'd all have a larger pie to divide. He was, in every sense, a true heir of the Party of Lincoln. He will be missed.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:00 PM | Football • | Politics 2009 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Kemp was a true heir of the party of Lincoln. Alas, the lineage of that GOP died with him.

Posted by: Magrooder at May 3, 2009 12:26 AM

Kemp was a serious proponent of individual/economic freedom. If the party has swung so far right these days--as pundits and idiots would have it--tell us who in the GOP is standing up for freedom these days.

It's simple enough to see where the Left stands on the issue--kneel before the all-powerful State. Who is farther Right on this than Kemp? How are we to believe it when we're told the party is so far Right but at the same time one of it's extremists (on the issue of economic freedom) is now regarded as some sort of icon to bipartisanship?

And RIP to a good man.

Posted by: spongeworthy at May 3, 2009 10:44 AM

Pity Reagan didn't pick Kemp instead of Bush 41 as VP in 1980. It certainly would have transformed the last twenty years.

Posted by: Watchman at May 3, 2009 1:50 PM

Bush was picked to shore up the" moderate" wing of the party. Isn't it interesting that everytime we run a conservative or some one like Bush in 88 who runs as a conservative aka Reagans 3rd term we win and everytime we run a moderate like Ford, Dole, Mc Cain and oh yeah Bush in 1992 we lose. Its almost like their is a lesson in there somewhere.

Posted by: dch at May 3, 2009 5:39 PM

Magrooder, no need to take shots, there's enough to point out in regular posts. spongeworthy, no need to use this too as a platform for the same.

He was a good man, believed in public service and had a vision, and will be missed. I hadn't heard from him much aside from the normal election noise in the past year.

Posted by: Dave at May 3, 2009 8:05 PM

I saw Jack Kemp throw a touchdown pass to Haven (Only) Moses (Knows Us) in an August 1969 Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams preseason game. The Rams won that game 50-20. Combined with a 52-17 Super Bowl loss to Dallas in 1993, Buffalo averaged giving up 51 points a game on defense in Bills games I went to. Jack Kemp did not play defense so he cannot be blamed for that. A couple decades later I saw his son Jeff Kemp quarterback a few games for the Rams. Jack Kemp RIP.

Posted by: Yetijuice at May 3, 2009 11:39 PM
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