Jack Kemp Stood for Civil Rights . . . And America

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Jack Kemp is on the top of my wall of heroes. Literally. An autographed Kemp card sits on top of my bookshelf housing the works and images of my heroes.

As the NFL self-destructs, it’s worth reading about Jack Kemp’s work for civil rights. And for the Republican Party. And for conservatism.

Jack Kemp’s Activism

Kemp did it all. And, thanks to Jeffrey Lord, we can remember Kemp’s finest moments of civil rights activism:

The 1964 American Football League All-Star Game was scheduled to be held in New Orleans in January, 1965. Kemp and team-mates Ernie Warlick and Cookie Gilchrist were members of the Eastern Division team. When they arrived at the New Orleans airport, Gilchrist and Warlick hailed a nearby cab. The cabbie told Gilchrist: “You have to take a colored cab”, to which Cookie replied “I don’t care what color it is, we just want a cab!” The driver explained that they had to wait for a cab used only for black patrons. He peered out at Kemp, though, and said “I’ll take you.” Kemp replied that if the cab was too good for his friends, it wasn’t good enough for him.

After similar treatment of the black players at their hotel and other Big Easy establishments, Kemp joined with the rest of the white players on the squad to support the black players in their boycott of the city. In an early civil rights stand, the players held out and the game was moved to Houston.

That’s Jack Kemp. Patriot and leader.

Jeffrey Lord asks that you honor Jack Kemp by shunning the NFL and all its works and all its empty promises.

Turn off the games. Don’t go to the games. Stop buying the endless merchandise.

As it were, it is apparently time for the fans of the NFL to “take a knee.” To boycott the NFL by simply closing their wallets and walking away from rich, privileged athletes who couldn’t polish Jack Kemp’s cleats. Much less have the real courage to go outside the football stadium and help — yes — make America great again.

The NFL that threatened to fine players for honoring 9/11 victims. The NFL that prohibited the Dallas Cowboys from honoring police officers assassinated in the line of duty. The NFL that now claims players right to desecrate the flag at work cannot be infringed. That NFL doesn’t deserve another American nickel.

You Can Take Action

Yet, that NFL that expresses its disrespect for the United States with juvenile pre-game demonstrations takes $7 billion in United States tax dollars to build stadiums.

Along with the NFL, let’s not do business with the NFL’s largest sponsors:

  • Boycott Ford
  • Boycott GM
  • Boycott Anheuser-Busch
  • Boycott Nike

How ignorant of Ford and GM. Did they do the math before supporting this anti-American demonstration? How many pickups do Ford and GM sell to former NFL fans? How many pickups and SUVs? (I’d buy Toyota and Nissan stock now.)

Next, the president should sign an executive order prohibiting any federal agency from advertising during NFL events. He should prohibit the Department of Defense from participating in any NFL event. No flyovers. No parachute drops. No color guards.

Finally, it’s time to remove the NFL’s antitrust exemption. Let the owners be subject to the laws that govern other industries.

In other words, it’s not enough to turn our backs on football. It’s time to actively destroy the NFL. 


My autographed Jack Kemp card



Trump’s Misdirection Play

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Everybody loves misdirection. It makes magic shows and movies interesting. You think you know what happens next, then WHAM! the unexpected happens. Now you’re plugged in.

Trump gave a head fake. Everybody bought it. (Including me.) Then his legs went the other way, and we stand here flailing at the air. Some people’s heads exploded on CNN. BOOM! I’ll reveal the real misdirection in a moment. You’ll love it.

After declaring “I don’t want to change” and hiring Stephen K. Bannon, the honey badger, as campaign CEO, Trump gave two perfectly Jack Kempian speeches in a row. He expressed “regrets” for causing people pain with his words. He asked for the black vote over and over again, promising to undo the horrific damage done to blacks by 60 years of Democratic demagogueries. He sounds like Jack Kemp.

Leadership vs. Leisure

On top of that, Trump shamed and humiliated Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by going to Louisianna and helping hand out relief supplies to flood victims. While Obama golfs and Hillary rests, Trump leads.  He looks like a serial winner and a humble servant while his rival gets her toenails painted by her servants.

Donald Trump delivers relief to Louisiana flood victims while Obama golfs and Hillary recovers

Think about this: who looks like they have the stamina? The golfer? The convalescent? or The Donald?

Trump’s 3rd Act

I’ve been telling you about Scott Adams’s theory that Trump’s running this campaign like a movie. The hero, Trump, dug himself a hole that no one believed he could escape. From Scott Adams’ Blog:

This is the so-called 3rd act that I have been predicting for about a year. In movie terms, this is the point where the protagonist encounters a problem that can’t be solved unless he changes something about himself. In a typical movie script, the hero might need to conquer a specific fear, open his heart to love again, or become more open-minded – that sort of change. In our movie, Trump needed to display more human empathy to appear less scary to the public. He has been doing that in speeches and statements all week, but the “regret” speech capped it.

And here he is, clawing his way out of that hole like Indiana Jones.

Channeling Jack Kemp

Regular readers know that I love Jack Kemp. I campaigned for Kemp for President in South Carolina in 1987 and 1988. I have an autographed Jack Kemp trading card, a gift from a friend. How history might have changed had Kemp won the nomination in 1988 and continued the Reagan Revolution.

If you think about it, Trump’s hair kind of reminds you of Kemp’s, doesn’t it? But there’s more. Much more. It’s the real misdirection, and it happened when Trump announced Stephen K. Bannon as his CEO.

Along with Bannon came pollster Kellyanne Conway. One of Conway’s first (and favorite) clients was . . . Jack Kemp. Bannon will do a great job as CEO, but Conway was the secret weapon. Bannon’s hiring made everybody think Trump was going to double down on mean and nasty. We all treated Conway as an afterthought, except to note that she’s the first female campaign manager for a Republican presidential candidate.

Conway: Great Get

Conway wasn’t an afterthought: she’s at least as important as Bannon’s entrance and Manafort’s exit.

I don’t think Conway is writing Trump’s speeches. I do think she’s helping Trump expose his inner Kemp. Jack Kemp wanted to bring conservative economic solutions to America’s ghettoes and barrios. He called himself “a bleeding-heart conservative,” and often irritated more strident conservatives.

But Kemp managed to get himself elected to Congress from a blue-collar, union, Democrat district near Buffalo, New York. Like Trump, Kemp appealed to Reagan Democrats. And he never let them down.

When you look at Trump’s history of knocking down religion, sex, and race barriers in hiring and promotions, you can see that Trump and Kemp share a lot of the same values. Until this week, Trump seemed to have trouble expressing those values, but Conway has opened that door.

Now that the third act is underway and you’re seeing it unfold, you won’t think my prediction of a Trump landslide was so crazy. If you don’t see it now, you will soon.

Gateway Pundit, Jamie Allman, Michelle Moore, and Ed Martin will join me in Festus for the Tea Party for Trump on August 28 at 4:00. Hope to see you there, too.

Whatever Happened to the Party of Ideas?

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From about 1978 until the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, the GOP was called “the party of ideas.” I miss the ideas.

William F. Buckley helped. Buckley liked big ideas and smart people. He liked politicians who gave legs to great ideas and governors with the guts to experiment. Governor Ronald Reagan appeared on Buckley’s Firing Line shortly after the Gipper became California’s governor. Reagan talked about many ideas he was trying or hoping to try. My favorite: allowing states to keep a portion of the federal taxes and fees generated within a state instead of cycling everything through Washington’s bureaucracy.

That idea now exists in the form of Transportation Empowerment Act.

The Idea People

Jack Kemp, the former congressman, HUD secretary, and football quarterback, championed all sorts of ideas. Some of Kemp’s ideas offend a few modern Tea Partiers, but he at least promoted ideas and tests. He gave the Republican Party (and conservatism) an idealistic, enthusiastic, and optimistic face. Buckley called Kemp “America’s leading enthusiast.”

How many of those exciting ideas from the 80s and 90s began with a Heritage Foundation paper? All of them? Most? Well, Heritage is still there, still pumping out ideas. And Heritage has add Heritage Action to help activists push ideas upon their members of Congress.

What Are Ann Wagner’s Big Ideas

I wonder, though, why so many modern Republican politicians avoid ideas like the plague? Take Rep. Ann Wagner. She’s interested in issues, or so she says. I believe her. She’s very interested in issues involving potential donors. Or issues that Republican pollsters discover a demographic for.

Ideas, though, are another matter for politicians like Wagner. Ideas don’t come with checks. Ideas can get you into trouble. Ideas demand hard thinking to plan and explain, and hard work to promote and execute. Why do all that work when you could be raising funds from wealthy donors, instead?

Sometimes, big ideas become the topic of discussion at candidate forums. Jack Kemp loved promoting his ideas with people unlikely to jump aboard, including Democrats. Or communists. Or anyone willing to discuss big ideas. I can’t imagine Kemp ducking a candidate forum or a debate.

Rep. Ann Wagner, on the other hand, avoids idea sharing, future planning, or philosophical discussion. Wagner won’t show up at a candidate forum with her opponents, Libertarian Bill Slantz and Democrat Arthur Lieber. Mrs. Wagner, apparently, will be busy knocking on doors during the candidate forum next Wednesday, October 22. Those doors, according to her official schedule, are in northern Virginia, where Wagner will be raising money for a candidate there.

When I was young and Republican in the 1980s, the ideas attracted me. Jack Kemp’s enthusiasm and William F. Buckley’s brilliance and Ronald Reagan’s lovable charm made my job of attracting other young voters easy. I remember the 1987 Low Country Stump Days in Charleston, SC. I was surrounded by people in their twenties. We were guided by retirees, but we knew we were the stars because we were young and conservative and full of ideas–ideas we borrowed from Heritage and Buckley and Kemp.

Conservative Names | Liberal Names

I’m not so sure the left has any monopoly on ideas today. Democrats mostly just want to keep blacks poor and Hispanics isolated so that government programs look like a good deal. What bothers me is that so many Republicans treat Fortune 500 companies the same way Democrats treat the poor. It’s all about creating dependency. It’s all about addicting people to government largess. It’s all about becoming the arbiter of happiness so people have to grovel.

The left, though, does a good job of pretending to have ideas. They use photoshop, videos, comedians, and actors to make cynicism feel like philosophy. Cynicism sounds original and smart to a kid.

It’s no surprise, then, that lists of the most conservative and most liberal names  present such starkly different images. As Katherine Miller writes on Buzzfeed:

The liberal names generally sound like a group of women in their late 20s; the conservative names sound like the members of a large bluegrass band from the 1930s.

In the 1980s, I was still playing the banjo, so Ms. Miller’s characterization is only 50 years off.

Young people have a life to look forward to. They’re not so interested in holding onto what they’ve got, because don’t have anything except a ton of debt. They want ideas. They expect those of us who’ve lived to provide some of those ideas.

The reason I can’t vote for Ann Wagner isn’t because she doesn’t go to candidate forums; it’s because she wouldn’t have anything to talk about if she did.

The candidate forum will be held at 7 pm, October 22 in the Meramec Community College Student Center, 11333 Big Bend Road. This is a great chance to meet a candidate with ideas, Bill Slantz.

What’s the One Thing Congress Should Push Right Now?

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It’s not the Balanced Budget Amendment, though that’s a good second choice.

It’s certainly not senseless and impossible ideas like impeaching Obama or suing over birth certificates.

Instead, we should push an idea that’s ripe for quick passage.  It’s an idea that cheers political moderates and conservatives.  And it doesn’t immediately turn off liberals.

What is it?

It’s an old idea that Jack Kemp championed for decades. It’s an idea that I’ve written about many times before.  It’s the best next step in restore fiscal sanity to Washington.

It’s time to implement the Flat Tax.  Here’s why:

1. Flat Tax Closes Idiotic Loopholes:  I know that many Tea Partiers oppose legislation to close tax loopholes.  I do, too, if it’s done to punish certain classes of business.  But there’s really no good reason why General Electric paid no taxes on $5+ billion in profits.

2.  Flat Tax Eliminates Innocent Mistakes:  Flat tax is almost fool-proof.  We can test that theory on Tim Geithner.  When the formula is Tax = (Income – $30,000) * n (where n = rate), it’s hard to screw up.  The current tax code is so complex that the Secretary of the Treasury cannot understand it. 

3.  Flat Tax Eliminates Same-Sex Marriage Argument:  The individual flat tax is per person, not per household. There is no marriage penalty or marriage benefit.  Since marriage isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, it makes sense that our tax code ignore it, too.

4. Flat Tax Increases Revenue:  Yes, revenue will increase. Some, including many rich, will see their effective rate increase.  Others will see their effective risk fall.  Some who pay nothing today will begin contributing to functioning of government—legitimizing their opinion.  With a $14.3 trillion mortgage that grows every day, we need to increase revenue.

5.  Flat Tax Is Marketable:  Don’t underestimate the importance of marketability.  Great ideas (like the Fair Tax) are often stillborn because of their complexity.  Ninety percent (or more) of people don’t want to spend a week studying the effects of government policy on them. Complex tax codes strike people as crooked schemes designed to hide something.  The flat tax sells because it’s simple and obviously fair. 

6.  Flat Tax Eliminates Bracket Creep: You pay a flat percentage of your income above a flat, inflation-indexed deduction of about $30,000.  The poor pay no taxes.  Everyone pays an identical amount.  Without bracket creep, the marginal tax rate is constant, encouraging additional activity.

7.  Flat Tax Solves the Warren Buffett Problem:  Billionaire Warren Buffett (incorrectly) claims that his secretary pays more in taxes than he does.  (So why doesn’t Warren increase her salary until she hits his happy bracket?)  Although Buffett’s argument is nonsense, many smart people take him at his word.  The flat tax solves the problem of high income people avoiding taxes. 

There’s no reason why the Flat Tax cannot proceed in parallel with the Balanced Budget Amendment, which I came out for in The Conservative Manifesto in 1993.  But the BBA will take a while to get through Congress and 38 states.  The flat tax have to be phased in over a few years to prevent too large a jolt.   If Congress passes it 2011, it can be fully implemented by 2014 or 2015. 

While the flat tax may not be perfect, it’s the best tax reform that’s possible.  

Sad News About Jack Kemp

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The first time I met George W. Bush in person, I was campaigning for Jack Kemp for President.  Kemp was running against Vice President George H. W. Bush (and 47 others) for the Republican nomination.  This was 1987.

A wonderful, tough, and tireless local Republican organizer named Thelma Stuart recruited me and served as my mentor in Dixiecrat-style politics of South Carolina.  My first gig was manning the Kemp booth at the Low Country Stump Days in Charleston.  Being the Reagan 80s, we were decked out in straw hats with red, white, and blue bands, blue blazers, khakis, no socks, and Sperry topsiders.  I wore a red, white, and blue Repp tie (which not coincidentially matched the one Kemp wore that day) on a blue Brooks Brother’s button-down oxford.

The booth workers were excited:  Mr. Kemp had stopped by the booth several times, and we thought we were about to meet the vice president.  When the motorcade with “Bush 88” regalia stopped at the gates of fairgrounds, I tried to act nonchalante as I craned my neck to catch a glimpse of the man who coined the term “voodoo economics.”

Instead, a younger man clearly led the delegation–a man who looked shockingly like his mother Barbara.  George W. Bush knew that Kemp was his father’s primary adversary.  He made a confident and quick beel-line to our little hut of aluminum polls and white canvass.

“I’m George Bush, and I’d like for you to vote for my dad,” Bush informed me as if he knew . . . KNEW . . . that I would.  His glare was powerful and intimidating, his handshake painfully firm, his voice powerful and certain.  He held my gaze a good 10 seconds after issuing his command.

All I could muster was, “Pleased to meet, sir.  And I’d like for you to vote for Jack Kemp.”

The future liberator of Iraq and Afghanistan smiled slyly.  He didn’t find my remark funny but ballsy.  He moved onto the Pat Robertson booth next door.

A minute later, Mr. Kemp was standing next to me.

“You handled that like a pro,” he said.

I had to fight the smile.  I was 24 and a submarine sailor violating the UCMJ by campaigning for a candidate for office.  I’d be damned if I’d act like I hadn’t heard better from better.  But I hadn’t.

I left the Navy for a year to campaign for Jack Kemp for President (1988), returning in 1989, long after Kemp’s candidacy foundered.

Former Congressman Jack Kemp Has Cancer – FOXNews.com Transition Tracker

Jack Kemp’s office says the former housing secretary, congressman and Buffalo Bills quarterback has been diagnosed with cancer.

A brief statement says Kemp is undergoing tests to determine the origin of the disease and how to go about treating it. The type of cancer was not disclosed.

I know many people (including me) slung arrows at Kemp and Bill Bennett over immigration a few years ago. Aside from that, Kemp is right on almost everything.  A gentleman and kind soul, even the DUers (at least as of this writing) cannot muster a hateful, gleeful shot at the ailing Kemp.  Remarkably–and sadly–most of the blogs on the right are silent.  Perhaps the bloggers are too young to remember Kemp’s contribution?  I hope that’s it.

Some highlights that I remember (without Googling):

  • AFL and NFL quarterback with San Diego and Buffalo
  • Champion of returning to the gold standard
  • Champion of the flat tax
  • Champion of Supply Side economics
  • One of Reagan’s strongest allies and evangelists in Congress
  • Loved by his mostly Democrat constituents in Buffalo, NY
  • Compassion human being without falling for “compassionate conservatism”

Kemp switched from QB to the offensive line when Reagan took office.  As the Gipper called the plays, Kemp pulled, sweeping right behind the Congressional tackles, to wipe out the Democrats’ defensive ends and shooting line backers.  Reagan took it to the house without a hand laid on him.

All  who considered themselves better off in 1984 than they were four years earlier owe a big thanks to Jack Kemp, no matter how they voted.

I’ll say a prayer for Mr. Kemp, and I hope you will, too.

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