RIP, Compassionate Conservative
Yesterday, the nation lost a political figure who really was a compassionate conservative, long before Bush claimed the moniker. Jack Kemp was a conservative's conservative. He and former Delaware Sen. William Roth were the political parents of Professor Arthur Laffer's "supply side economics," now better know as Reaganomics.
But unlike the stereotype conservative who glorified greed, Kemp really was compassionate. He cared about the poor and the consequences of policy on the underprivileged. While his star power as a former NFL quarterbacked certainly helped, what really got him elected (and reelected 8 times) as a Republican from a blue-collar district in industrial Buffalo, NY, was his sincere concern for working families. He sought conservative solutions to real problems.
Kemp championed the empowerment of disadvantaged people. He favored and encouraged tenant management of public housing, and spotlighted local leaders in that effort (including St. Louis' own Bertha Gilkey). Many of us forget that the purpose of his precious Reaganomics was to increase market-driven employment for low-income people. We can debate whether it worked, but it was clear that Kemp's heart was in the right place.
Jack Kemp was a worthy adversary. He will be missed.