Jack Kemp, former quarterback, congressman, Bob Dole running-mate and HUD secretary, died yesterday of cancer.
He seemed to be one of those rarest of breeds: a totally honest politician — intellectually, morally and legally. I don’t think I ever read a bad word about him (outside of “heat of the campaign” kind of stuff), even from those who were his political opponents.
I heard Kemp speak during a local stop when he was running-mate on Bob Dole’s ill-fated 1996 presidential campaign, and he was unwaveringly positive and optimistic — which as you know sometimes aren’t the best traits during a campaign, but it’s what Jack Kemp was best at. The Dole campaign, with rousing slogans like “A vote for Bob Dole is… a vote for Bob Dole” was doomed from the start, but Kemp did his best.
Kemp had a great feel for practical economics. I’ll never forget watching some round-table discussion, and Kemp was asked if inner-cities should be “enterprise zones.” Kemp, without missing a beat, said, “The whole damn country should be an enterprise zone!”
Right now St. Peter is getting a good supply-side schooling.
Update: Yet another reason I’m glad Arlen Specter is no longer a Republican.