From Bethesda, Maryland tonight comes the news that Jack Kemp, whose career took him from football triumphs with the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s to a highly productive House career in the 1980s to his vice-presidential candidacy alongside Bob Dole in 1996, has died of cancer at age 73.
It may be that long, long ago, in an alternate universe far, far away, Dole defeated Clinton when the latter came up for re-election, and that the Kansan statesman’s service in the Oval Office was followed by eight spectacular years in which Occidental College’s most eminent athlete transformed his nation with a combination of farsighted programs that extended the American dream to minorities, while undertaking tax cuts that strengthened the American middle class.
However, we are in the non-alternate America, where a onetime Oxy student (who is known to have played soccer, which Kemp once called a “socialist sport,” for years, but whose gridiron career in high school was brief and rather undistinguished) undertakes policies that enormously strengthen the Federal bureaucracy while showing considerable promise of imposing crushing tax burdens on the middle class for many years to come.
But the fact remains that the vision of inclusiveness for the GOP that Kemp spoke of so many times, until illness overtook him, is one of the main things that can guide the Republican Party back to victory in the polls, as Mike Huckabee and other figures recognize.
In January, after news of Kemp’s illness became public, Jeffrey Lord wrote an article for the American Spectator’s website that explains especially well what Kemp’s party, and indeed his nation, owe to him. May he rest in eternal peace.