May 2, 2009, - 11:09 pm
My Friend, Jack Kemp, Rest in Peace: Former VP Candidate, Congressman Fought For Freedom, Israel, Supply Side Economics
By Debbie Schlussel
Several months ago, I told you about reports that my friend, former U.S. Congressman and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp, was ill with cancer, and his prognosis wasn’t good.
Sadly, we learned that Jack Kemp died today. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I was a Michigan organizer for his Presidential campaign from 1985 through 1988, when I was a Jack Kemp delegate to the Republican National Convention (and the second youngest delegate to the convention overall). In the years since, Jack Kemp went slightly liberal on us. But who can forget his tremendous contributions to the important causes of freedom, capitalism, and human rights? It’s because of that, that I and my family planted trees in Jack’s honor in the Irving W. and Marilyn Schlussel Forest in Jerusalem. Jack thanked me over and over when I presented him with the certificates.
I Have a Ton of Pics w/ Jack Kemp (but this was the least fugly–most were taken as I was gaining the “Freshman Ten” in college) . . .
In Congress, Jack Kemp was not only a key conservative leader, but an important advocate of supply side economics and the Reagan revolution in Congress. He was an important fighter for freedom and human rights for persecuted Jews–Refuseniks–in the then-Soviet Union and an important proponent of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the U.S. Trade Bill, tying trade with the Soviets to their human rights record. He was a Scoop Jackson Republican and an important proponent of Israel’s right to exist in the Middle East. Kemp was one of the early Republicans to recognize the jihadist problems and terrorist threats that Muslims posed–and do even more so, today–worldwide. Jack Kemp loved America, but he also worried for those far from our shores.
I was proud to become a personal friend of Jack Kemp, whom I got to know as a teen intern on Capitol Hill, as a key campaign worker in Michigan, and later in life when I would run into him from time to time in Washington and elsewhere. He would even tease me about my boyfriends at the time and joke around, etc. I literally knew him since I was 15. He was always a nice guy, a class act, and the very definition of a mensch.
Although I grew disappointed with his support of open borders, expanded rights for illegal aliens, affirmative action for minorities, and the contracts he gave Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bush that father, I will never forget his important contributions to freedom, liberty, and justice, when it counted . . . when he was in Congress and had a vote and a strong voice on the House Foreign Relations Committee.
With a great head of hair and perpetual movie star looks, Jack Kemp was also a great NFL quarterback who interned for Governor Ronald Reagan in the off-season (and that’s how he became a conservative), but that was not what was his important contribution to America. Nor was his run as Bob Dole’s running mate, when he knew he would be a sacrificial lamb against Clinton-Gore’s re-election.
Here’s what is important about Jack Kemp. Many people are free today and can freely practice Judaism because of Jack F. Kemp’s important fights against the Soviet Union and Arab Muslim’s fights against Israel’s right to exist. He also was the reason there are “enterprise zones” in many of America’s inner cities, today. (He was that rare conservative Republican who regularly got the majority of the Black vote in his Buffalo, New York district.)
Jack, you will not be forgotten.
I’ve re-posted, below, what I wrote about Jack Kemp when I learned of his illness. Some of it is repetitive (forgive me), but his important contributions bear repeating. This was a good and decent man and a truly great American. And he will definitely missed. I mourn his loss with the many who knew him.
Jack Kemp, Rest in Peace.
Bad news about a man who was once seen as a top leader in the conservative movement and a promising Presidential candidate. Jack Kemp, who went from Buffalo Bills QB to Reagan intern in California to rising political star in Washington, has cancer. It is apparently very serious, and I hope he recovers.
When I was a teen, one of my heroes was then-Congressman Jack Kemp. At the time, he was a down-the-line conservative who was pro-America, pro-Israel, and pro-self-empowerment. He championed tax cuts and enterprise zones and got it right,whether it was domestic or foreign policy. He was an important and vocal person in the fight against oppression in the then-Soviet Union and a strong supporter of sanctions against the country. As a high school student, I was one of the many who were involved in Jack Kemp’s campaign for President in 1988, which essentially began back in 1984. I got to know Kemp and was instrumental in his Michigan campaign–at the time Michigan was the first in the nation to pick its Republican delegates. I became a Jack Kemp delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention.
But after that, Jack Kemp started to go liberal. He opposed propositions in California and elsewhere that limited affirmative action and stopped benefits for illegal aliens. And he endorsed a number of other liberal ideas. That’s not to mention that as HUD Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Kemp granted security contracts in federal housing projects to the Nation of Islam.
Still, I can’t forget the many important things Jack Kemp did that helped build the conservative cause and which were good for America. And regardless of his politics, he’s a good man for whose well-being and recovery from cancer I’ll be praying. I hope you’ll do the same.
Sadly, those prayers were not answered. But, I am sure, he is now in a far better place.
Again, Jack Kemp, Rest In Peace.