It is not apparent at first, but the loss of Jack Kemp, who died on May 2 at 73, calls to mind the parallels he had with another political giant, Hubert Humphrey. As far as I knew, neither had a single political enemy. They may not have achieved the presidency, but each was enormously important in his respective party, in the institutions of government and to the political process. Both were examples of how party members should conduct themselves today.
Jack's final service--his last play, to offer a football metaphor, which he loved to do--was to demonstrate what Reaganism (and, to be fair, Kempism, because Jack was critical to President Reagan's success) was really about: conservatism with a smile, conservatism of multiplication not division, optimism about the future, the best of the old applied to the new. Above all, conservatism appropriately constructed as befit the party of Lincoln.
Few could have predicted that Jack and I would be running mates in 1996. We didn't always agree, we ran against each other in 1988, and I was never a total convert to some of his ideas. But we agreed on a 15% across-the-board tax cut and reduced federal spending as key components of our campaign. In the end, the power of ideas, enthusiasm about the future, passion for racial equality, positivity and inclusion brought us together. Jack never claimed his ideas were flawless, but he knew that our party, to become a majority, needed new ideas and a form of conservatism that protected the vulnerable. He believed that in a great country like America, no one should be left behind. What a guy and what an act to follow. Oh, how we need more Jack Kemps now.