Remembering Jack Kemp (1935-2009)

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Generally reluctant to vote Republican, I would have nonetheless supported Jack Kemp for president simply because of his passionate positions on free enterprise and race relations. Having been a small quarterback protected by linemen mostly black, he couldn’t fall for racial prejudice. I always relished hearing him speak.

Though some obituaries mention that he graduated from the predominantly Jewish Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, where his classmates included the musician Herb Alpert and the baseballer Larry Sherry, none acknowledged that during the early 1950s many of these Fairfax students were the children of European refugees, Holocaust survivors, or communists. Some of their parents worked (or had worked, until blacklisted) in the film industry, residing in Fairfax because they weren’t wealthy enough to live in Beverly Hills. (This inside dope comes from red diaper babies I knew long ago.) Little is said about what effect Jewish leftwing culture might have had upon Kemp, who was a WASP jock at Fairfax.

Knowing what I did about Fairfax High, I always regarded Kemp as a crypto-Jewish activist who quaintly called himself “a bleeding-heart conservative,” clearly to distinguish him- self from heartless cons and neocons. Though he cofounded the NFL Players Association (aka union) and later directed it, Kemp nonetheless realized, as did Ludwig von Mises before him, that free-market economics could better realize socialist ideals of spreading prosperity, especially among America’s minorities. Too bad he’s gone, because no Republican now resembles him.

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