Not many of the media have paid tribute to Congressman Jack Kemp as
he passes on from his life of public service. But that does not
diminish the man or his accomplishments. It’s just a disservice to
their readers and viewers.
Jack Kemp deserves honor and credit for his service.
It was impossible to be cynical in Jack’s vicinity. He
radiated sincerity and optimism. Corny as it sounds, Jack was the real
thing, an all-American true believer in this country and in the
capacity of its people to overcome any obstacle once given the chance.
The key is being given the chance.
What attracted Jack Kemp to supply-side economics was
the promise of advancement for ordinary people…He passionately believed
in individual opportunity and free markets, and he needed an argument
to take to the union rank-and-file who made up the bulk of his
district’s voters. Supply-side economics, the premise that tax cuts and
corresponding regulatory reform would unleash the creative energies of
Americans, persuaded him, and he became its great missionary.
And, as Goldman points out in this piece, it was done without Wall
Street gurus, “no strings pulled by investment banks”, and no academic
consensus. And the ‘Kemp-Roth Tax Cuts’ was a decisive piece of
legislation in American economic history.
Jack was a leader who loved his country and put it
before personal gain. When he left office he had the equity in his
house and not much else. But he had four children, including two sons
who played professional football, and seventeen grandchildren. By the
time I got to know him he was full time on the lecture circuit, putting
his family finances in order before joining the Washington thinktank
Empower America. He considered a run for president in 1996 but deferred
to Steve Forbes, then running as the tax-cutting candidate. His
outstanding career as a Republican leader was coming to an end, but
what a glorious run it was.
A devout Christian, Jack made far more of a difference than an
ex-quarterback with a physical education degree from Occidental College
had a right to. He earned our gratitude not only for what he
accomplished, but for what he proved about the character of the United
As Rich Lowry says at NRO, his party awaits another like him.