May God Bless Jack Kemp

While I never met him personally, I, like many Americans, are saddened by the death of Jack Kemp.

To quote a line of his from his 1996 vice presidential debate, “Before I begin speaking, allow me to say a few words.”

I share his gregariousness and locquatiousness, and hope to eventually reach a point worth observing. This is because Jack Kemp spoke from the heart, and he mattered.

I never thought I would ever link to an article from NPR, but this eulogy was very well stated.

His column in the Jewish World Review in October of 2002 was brilliant.

Whether a believer in politically conservative politics, or simply a lover of the National Football League (for me, both), flags at GOP and ESPN headquarters should be flying at half staff.

From a football standpoint, Jack Kemp showed resilience. As a quarterback, he was beaten into the ground by bigger men, only to get back up. He even said himself that his football career prepared him for politics because he “had already been cursed, booed, and burned in effigy.”

Yet as great as football is, it does not alter the world.

From a political and policy standpoint, Jack Kemp altered the world, and for the better.

Supply side economics is referred to lovingly as “Reaganomics,” but it was Jack Kemp who convinced Ronald Reagan to embrace tax cuts in marginal rates as a candidate, and implement tax cuts as President.

Supply side economics led to the bull market in stocks that lasted from 1982-2007.

Jack Kemp understood that the big concern was not deficits. It was growth. If a deficit doubles, but growth triples, then everything is fine. Businesses operate on deficits all the time. Governments issue debt. They are called bonds. Human beings own credit cards.

Yet the problem comes when growth stops. Jack Kemp truly understood that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Jack Kemp understood that cutting taxes was akin to freeing people from slavery. Removing the shackles and allowing people to experience liberty from government was what drove the economic engine.

In one word, Jack Kemp understood that America was about ingenuity.

Tax cuts were not about race, religion, or national origin. They were for everybody, and societies across the globe that implemented them benefitted.

This may seem like common knowledge to everybody to the left of Leon Trotsky, but back then this was revolutionary thinking. The Reagan Revolution would not have occurred without Jack Kemp.

While he was a two time champion with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, electoral success eluded him at the highest levels. His 1988 presidential campaign fizzled, as did his 1996 appearance as the vice presidential nominee.

Yet only in America, could a congressman from Western New York influence an entire generation of presidential politics.

He was a decent human being who genuinely cared about people.

His thoughtfulness is just as important to his legacy as his football championships and his political influence.

For all those reasons and more, Jack Kemp will me missed.

May God bless him and his family.


3 Responses to “May God Bless Jack Kemp”

  1. Micky 2 says:

    Hey Eric.
    Check it out.

    “President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, warned Israel that their “moment of truth” has arrived. Israel must accept Emanuel’s Two State Solution demand with Palestine or forfeit U.S. help in dismantling Iran’s nuclear program. See photos and a video below.”

  2. The thing about Kemp was that he seemed to really, truly believe in supply-side policy. I think most of the heavyweight proponents of “Reaganomics” didn’t and don’t really believe it does anything other put more money in wealthy peoples’ pockets, but Kemp seemed to genuinely believe it was good for the people as a whole. While I sincerely believe he was a good man, and an honest man, Kemp was obviously naive. Take this quote: “…instances of corporate fraud and misconduct are quite rare, occurring in less than one-quarter of 1 percent of all companies.” Now, anyone who’s been around the private sector a lot knows this is just absurd. But Kemp is the consummate believer in the best of human nature. For example, as was mentioned in one of the above tributes, Kemp seemed to be truly “color-blind,” something most people conveniently pretend to be but really they just don’t care about race and class and such. Kemp cared. He understood that race and class mattered and that a good government and people should work to alleviate inequities, to make opportunity truly available for all, not to just pretend that is the goal of a policy that is really about personal avarice. Many of the early proponents of “supply-side” policy have since come to admit that it really is just a selfish excuse not to pay taxes and does nothing to improve the country, most never changed their minds but one wonders if these people ever really believed it was anything other than what it was. Kemp never changed his mind and always thought it was good for all the people – not just a few of them. He was wrong, of course, but at least he was wrong for the right reasons. In theory, it is plausible. In reality, though, it is an abyssmal failure for all but a few at the top. And so Kemp also came to believe in ideas like the “flat-tax” and such, and again it sounds all well and fine but one has to wonder whether it’s realistic or would accomplish anything other than making the wealthy wealthier. But Kemp was an optimist and a dreamer and a man who came from a good place in his heart. Ya’ gotta give him that. The world could use a few more Kemps, not too many more, but a good few.

    This all said, on a side note, I wonder if a Jack Kemp would even be welcome in the GOP if he was just arriving today. He certainly didn’t fit today’s narrow mold!


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