Fmr. U.S. Rep. / HUD Sec. / ’96 VP nominee Jack Kemp not only continues to be influential more than 3 years after he passed away, but in many ways his influence and legacy continues to grow. From National Journal:
As they engage in soul-searching about their party’s future in the wake of a disappointing 2012 election, some younger Republicans are finding inspiration from the past.
Jack Kemp, the late pro football player, New York representative, presidential candidate, and vice presidential nominee, is making a comeback. His penchant for supply-side economic theory remains popular with the GOP, but it’s Kemp’s work to improve the quality of life for the inner-city poor that holds particular appeal now as a model for Republican outreach.
Two of the party’s rising stars, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, are leading the charge. Ryan, who once worked as a speechwriter at Kemp’s Empower America think tank, is a longtime devotee and cited the former politician as an influence while he campaigned for vice president with GOP nominee Mitt Romney. He was last year’s recipient of the Kemp Leadership Award, which went to Rubio this year.
Rubio received the award last night at the event hosted by Kemp’s son Jimmy and keynoted by Ryan who gave a great speech that centered on the American Idea —
We must carry on and keep fighting for the American Idea – the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to rise … to escape from poverty…and to achieve whatever your God-given talents and hard work enable you to achieve.
That is the promise of American life. And for too many Americans, it isn’t being kept. Poverty rates are the highest in a generation. Of the millions of children born into hardship, fewer and fewer are able to escape it. And some never learn to dream at all, which is a worse tragedy. When 40 percent of all children born into the lowest income quintile never rise above it, what does it say about our country?
. . .
But the election didn’t go our way, and the Republican Party can’t make excuses. We can’t spend the next four years on the sidelines. Instead, we must find new ways to apply our timeless principles to the challenges of today.
In William Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Part 2), there is the famous quote of “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. – (Act IV, Scene II). For Republicans, someone needs to say, “The first thing we do, let’s ditch all the consultants.” We know what we believe in. We know we have answers for the problems facing Americans at all levels. What we need to do is tell them what they are and engage in conversations with them so they understand that we have real solutions that not only can work, but have been proven to do so time and time again.
Pictured Below: Joanne Kemp and Jimmy Kemp presenting Senator Marco Rubio with the Second Kemp Leadership Award at the Jack Kemp Foundation dinner on December 4, 2012.