Jack Kemp, Polite And Interesting, Dies

This is sad news.

Jack Kemp was one of those politicians who had a message that could be conveyed using polite dialogue, and facts.  One need not agree with Kemp on the issues to have enjoyed the conversation along the way.  That is often missing from many in politics, and without sounding too partisan in an obituary post, missing in large measure from today’s RepublicanParty.    Kemp was certain he was right, and that was fine.  What I think most important about Kemp was his ability to be firm in his opinions, but gentle and even-handed with those who did not always see the world his way.

Former congressman and Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp died Saturday at age 73 after a battle with cancer, his family announced.

A onetime professional football player, Kemp served nine terms in Congress as a representative from New York and was former Sen. Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. He was a leading advocate of “supply-side” tax cuts, advancing the argument that cutting taxes would boost economic growth and yield more revenue for the federal government.

“The only way to oppose a bad idea is to replace it with a good idea, and I like to think that I have spent my life trying to promote good ideas,” he told CNN in a 1996 interview.

Kemp “passed peacefully into the presence of the Lord” Sunday evening, a family statement said. He disclosed his illness in January.

“During the treatment of his cancer, Jack expressed his gratitude for the thoughts and prayers of so many friends, a gratitude which the Kemp family shares,” the family said.

Saturday Song: Johnny Cash “Wabash Cannonball”

This song seems most appropriate after the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee made the correct next step for passenger train travel in Madison and Dane County (among other places) this week. 

The  comments by Johnny Cash about his mother-in-law is also a nice opening to “Wabash Cannonball”.  The Carter Family recorded this song in 1929, though it had been in sheet music form since about 1882.  The folk song is about a fictional train.