Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jack Kemp passes away after cancer battle

Former Republican congressman for Buffalo, NY, and 1996 vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp, 73, died today, reports numerous news sources. CNN, the AP, Reuters and others have small write-ups on the football star.

I didn't know Kemp had cancer, but I had noted his absence from the political public eye. According to his obituary, he announced his condition January.

Kemp was more an economic conservative from what I recall. At least, he always struck me as a person who genuinely wanted to cross the race and class divide. Politico's obituary tells me I remember correctly.
Aside from pushing the GOP to embrace tax cuts, Kemp also urged his party to reach out to minority voters. He credited his liberal views on race in part to his time on the gridiron, recalling in an article entitled "The Inspiration of the Football Huddle":

"We didn't tolerate bigotry on the field, either. Any difference in race, creed and class immediately dissolved in the common aim of a team win. Divisiveness only weakens a team. It has no place in a huddle, on or off the field." (Politico)
Yes, he was big on tax cuts and pushing supply-side economics. Perhaps that's why I'm seeing some tweets on Twitter regarding his death that are unkind. However, I suspect some are tweeting barbs on the deceased because Kemp, while he tried to cross the racial divide, supported anti-gay legislation.

Read a brief CNN obituary or the longer one at Politico.

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