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Before “Compassionate Conservative” was a political buzzword, this man exemplified it. It put Jack Kemp on the wrong side of the issues with a lot of his fellow conservatives. The American Spectator explains:

When he was the Republican nominee for vice president in 1996, for instance, he did his ticket no favors by doing things like going into private, big-donor meetings at Georgia country clubs and hectoring them about their collective racial insensitivity or even outright racism. But Kemp’s lack of discretion about causing needless offense also manifested itself in a willingness to dare giving offense for purposes both worthwhile and timely. At the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, for example — the one caricatured by the establishment media as being filled with fear and hate — he had the almost impish gall to tell the assembled delegates that history is “on the side of those liberal democratic ideals which gave birth to our nation.” Of course, conservative ideals are indeed “liberal” and (broadly speaking) “democratic,” at least in the classical sense of the words. But to use those words approvingly at a conservative Republican convention was to risk being terribly misunderstood and even unpopular.

He will be missed.


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