Monday, May 4, 2009

In gratitude: Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp passed away on Saturday and the conservative movement lost one of its brightest champions. Oh how we need more sober voices today calling for fiscal restraint in a day and age when tax dollars are spent like monopoly money and the Federal government is rushing headlong to nationalize the engines of our economy.

It is safe to say that Jack Kemp was one of the intellectual champions of the Reagan revolution that turned around the Republican party after the disaster of Richard Nixon and changed the conversation in Washington. As the Wall Street Journal notes in its eulogy for Jack Kemp:

The Kemp-Reagan policy mix of lower taxes to lift incentives, sound money to break inflation, and regulatory relief to unleash entrepreneurs became the foundation for the prosperity of the 1980s and 1990s.

The secret that the media wants to keep hidden is that all of the prosperity we experienced in the 80’s and 90’s was a direct result of the policies put forth under Reagan aided by Kemp. It was only when the fiscal restraints started to fall apart and the government was allowed to grow unfettered that we saw the collapse arrive that we are living with.

We need more men like Jack Kemp in conservatism today, men with a solid and unapologetic principles that transcend the sound bytes and get to the core of conservative thought. Conservatism is the intellectually defensible position. When allowed to compete in the marketplace of ideas against liberalism, it always triumphs because liberalism is based on emotions and rhetoric, where conservatism thrives on facts and reality. Liberalism sounds great in a college classroom where middle-class kids who have never suffered listen to lifelong college profs who have never worked a real job, all insulated from the reality of mortgages and crushing tax burdens. Conservatism needs champions like Jack Kemp who will speak up for conservative values. You may not have agreed with everything that Kemp said but on the core issues he was right on. His presence, charisma and intellect will be missed.
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