Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cuccinelli Wins GOP Nomination for AG!

The blog is pleased to announced that Virginia State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, strongly endorsed and supported by this blog, has won the nomination to represent the Republican party in this year's general election for Attorney General of the Commonwealth against Virginia Delegate Steve Shannon of Vienna.

Cuccinelli rounds out a solidly conservative statewide ticket headed by gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and incumbent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. Cuccinelli’s boisterous backers delivered him a first-ballot victory at the party’s state convention in Richmond today, pushing him past former federal prosecutor John Brownlee of Roanoke County and attorney Dave Foster of Arlington County.

Brownlee and Foster conceded to Cuccinelli before party officials could announce the results of the balloting and asked delegates to make Cuccinelli’s nomination unanimous. Cuccinelli had strong support from conservative activists at the heart of the GOP’s base, and said he would advocate the same agenda as a statewide official that he pursued as an outspoken legislator.

Cuccinelli has proven (once again...) that he is the most efficient and effective grassroots politician in the Commonwealth at any level. Congratulations to Senator Cuccinelli on a clean and well deserved victory today in Richmond!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Remebering Newt Hesley This Memorial Day

Newt Heisley, 88, the designer of the POW/MIA flag adopted by Congress in 1990 as a symbol of the nation's concern for those missing during military actions in Southeast Asia, died May 14 at his home in Colorado Springs. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Heisley's design, sketched in pencil in 1971 during the Vietnam War, shows the silhouette of a gaunt man, a strand of barbed wire and a watchtower in the background with the words "POW/MIA" and "You are not forgotten."

Congress in 1998 mandated that the flag be displayed at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, military installations and other federal buildings on national observances that include Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The flag also flies at Veterans Affairs Department medical centers each day, along with the American flag.

Mr. Heisley was working at a New Jersey ad agency when he was assigned the task of submitting a design. His eldest son, Jeffrey, now 61, who had contracted hepatitis while training at Quantico in preparation for a tour of Vietnam, provided the inspiration for the silhouette. The words came from Mr. Heisley's experience of flying C-46 transport planes over the Pacific during World War II.

Mr. Heisley's original plan was to add purple and white, but the stark black-and-white pencil drawing proved popular. The image was never copyrighted, and Mr. Heisley didn't benefit financially from the widely reproduced design.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker

Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.

According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president.

The bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks.

Eleanor Clift, Newsweek magazine's Washington contributing editor, said Biden revealed the location while filling in for President Obama at the dinner, who, along with Grover Cleveland, is the only president to skip the gathering.

According to the report, Biden "said a young naval officer giving him a tour of the residence showed him the hideaway, which is behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment."

Clift continued: "The officer explained that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed, an image that Biden conveyed in a way that suggested we shouldn't be surprised that the policies that emerged were off the wall."

In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974.

The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory's superintendent, calling the work "sensitive in nature" and "classified" and that it was urgent it be completed "on a highly accelerated schedule."

Residents said they believed workers were digging deep into the ground, which would support Biden's report of a secret bunker, but officials never confirmed the purpose of the work performed.

The revelation is the latest from Biden, who has a long history of political blunders.

Most recently, he said in a televised interview that if a family member asked him about traveling he'd advise staying away from public transportation or confined spaces to avoid swine flu -- a remark described as "borderline fearmongering" by an airline spokesman.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pro-Life Groups Fund Billboard Ads On Indiana Highways Against President Obama's Commencement Speech at Notre Dame

“Notre Dame Protest” was formed by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for Pro-Life Society to coordinate protest activities surrounding President Barack Obama’s scheduled commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

A key component of that effort is a pair of pro-life billboards placed on the Indiana Toll Road, one facing eastbound traffic and one facing westbound.

The billboards, which read “Notre Dame: Obama is Pro Abortion Choice—How DARE You Honor Him,” went up on Monday, May 4, two weeks before President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame and will remain up two weeks after.

The text on the billboards caused a bit of controversy as the billboard company objected to the original wording, “Barack Obama is Pro-Abortion.” They maintained that it could not be proven that Barack Obama was “pro-abortion,” but merely “pro-choice.” As such they insisted we include the word “choice.”

After trying numerous different wordings, the final wording “Barack Obama is Pro Abortion Choice” was chosen and accepted by the billboard company with the word “Abortion” in bold and underlined, thus maintaining the link between President Obama and abortion that the League wished to convey.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Red Sox Fan Pelted With Pizza Slice

This is one of the funniest off-the-field moments in Major League Baseball history....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Best Pitcher in Baseball

This story appears in the May 4th, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated.  Zack Greinke deserves a lot of credit for overcoming his mental demons to become one of baseball's best pitchers in 2009. It is nice to see the "good news" stories in sports....

First pitch: Fastball up and away. Ball one

There's a riddle that has followed Zack Greinke ever since he made it to the big leagues five years ago. He was a 20-year-old Kansas City Royals pitcher who was being called, among other things, a genius, a prodigy, the future of pitching. The riddle was posed by Greinke himself: What do you follow, your mind or your arm?

"Sometimes my arm wants to throw a hard fastball," he says, "but my brain doesn't want to throw it that hard."

This was typical Zack Greinke. He was unlike any 20-year-old major leaguer anyone had ever seen. From the start he could do magical things with a baseball. He was the Royals' pitcher of the year as a rookie, the youngest in franchise history, and that's rare enough -- a quick glance through history shows how few 20-year-olds there are who have been ready to retire big league hitters.

But it was the way that he got hitters out that distinguished Greinke: He worked out of his first big league jam by throwing a 58-mph curveball that Oakland's Eric Chavez dribbled to second base. That season he fooled Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams and home plate umpire Doug Eddings with a quick pitch that Eddings later allowed he might have missed. Most of all, he refused to throw hard.

"Let it go," everyone told him. Greinke readily admitted that at his unleashed best, he could throw his fastball 95 mph, maybe 96. But in games, facing the best hitters in the world, he would instead throw the ball 89 or 86 or 84, depending on his mood.

Let it go. That's what the coaches said, what his teammates thought, what they barked on talk radio and scribbled in the paper. But they didn't understand that Greinke had control at those lesser speeds. He could make the baseball do what he wanted at those speeds. If he really unleashed himself, well, there was no telling what would happen.

"Who wins the clash between your brain and the arm?" reporters once asked him.

"I dunno," he said.

Five years later, so much has changed. Zack Greinke has been a phenom, and he has been a bust. He has walked away from baseball, and he has come back. He has been a starter and a reliever, a genius and a flake, and even now he's still only 25 years old.

And, for the moment, Greinke is the best pitcher in baseball. On the last Friday in April, he stares down Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who leads the league in hitting. Nobody is on base. Nobody has scored a run off Greinke all year. Nobody has scored off Greinke since Sept. 13 of last year, seven starts ago. Greinke begins his windup and turns his back to Cabrera, and then his right arm comes forward and fires his fastball, which pops the glove. It's all out, 94 mph, fully unleashed.

Second pitch: 80-mph slider, belt high, a called strike

Zack Greinke always had a talent for looking bored. Everyone noticed it. Scouts, in fact, wrote those words, "He looks bored," on their reports again and again. During interviews Greinke would stare at the ceiling, as if the answers could be divined from the tiles. Before games Greinke would sit in front of his locker and look off into the distance.

"Zack," a teammate once said to him, "I'm having this charity golf tournament. Was hoping you might play in it."

Greinke paused, as if considering the request. Then he said, "No. Why would I do that?"

The teammate shrugged, laughed, walked off. Just Zack being Zack.

Before he made his debut in Oakland in May 2004, Greinke put on his warmup jacket and walked out of the clubhouse. Where was he going? Nobody knew. "He's probably sleeping somewhere," his teammate Brian Anderson said.

"I don't mean this as a knock on the kid," says former Royals general manager Allard Baird, "but it truly is just a game to him. You talk about poise and those type of things, but with Zack from the very start, he was just going out there and playing the game. And whether he won the game or lost the game, he really wasn't any different."

Maybe it was because Greinke never wanted to pitch. He got a kick out of hitting home runs -- one of his favorite stories involves a home run derby he won in high school. Greinke only became a fulltime pitcher during his senior year at Apopka (Fla.) High because he was too good not to become one. That season he had an 0.55 ERA, struck out 118 and walked eight, and he was named the Gatorade national high school player of the year.

"Yeah, I could dominate right away," he says, not to brag but to explain. His first full year in the minor leagues, he went 15-4 with a 1.93 ERA and a 112-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was the best pitching prospect in baseball. A year later he was the Royals' pitcher of the year.

It didn't mean all that much to him, though. Before he even made it to the big leagues, he had told reporters that his first win would be O.K., but that his first home run would be special. It would certainly prove to be memorable, occurring as it did on perhaps the worst pitching day of his life, in June 2005 against Arizona. He gave up 15 hits and 11 runs in just 4 1/3 innings. But on Greinke's first at-bat he hit a long fly ball to the wall in right. In his next at-bat Greinke crushed a long home run to left.

"I remember when he hit that home run, [manager] Buddy [Bell] walked to the top step and looked up at me in the press box with his hands out," Baird says. "And it was like, You have got to be kidding me."

Third pitch: 71-mph curveball, down and in, foul ball

Here's another Greinke story: During a dreadful 2005 season in which he would finish with a 5-17 record and a 5.80 ERA, Brian Anderson remembers Greinke once suddenly announcing in the dugout, "I'm going to throw a 50-mph curveball next inning." That was all he said.

Next inning, Greinke threw a preposterously slow curve to Detroit's Dmitri Young, the kind that made the whole crowd shout "Oooh." Anderson stuck his head out of the dugout to get the reading. It was precisely 50 mph.

The incident says something about Greinke's quirkiness and a virtuoso's feel for pitching, but it reveals more than that, too. It shows that Greinke was in trouble. He hated pitching so much that he had to invent little games to keep himself from crumbling. Everything was falling apart. He feuded with his pitching coach, Guy Hansen, who wanted him to move five inches to the left on the rubber. Never close to his teammates, he became even more distant, occasionally hostile.

Off the field it was worse. The simplest tasks overwhelmed him. He dreaded coming to the ballpark. Greinke talked with friends and family about becoming a full-time position player so that he could get to hit or, perhaps, taking up professional golf. He often talked with his family about it being another gray day.

The following spring training Greinke felt so distracted, he could not even concentrate on pitching. During one bullpen session his mind raced and he could not throw a strike. The next time out the results were no better. On a February morning in 2006 Greinke met with Bell and Baird and said that he needed to get away from baseball.

And here is where everything turned. Baseball is not a game known for understanding or compassion. The gentle relief pitcher for the Royals, Dan Quisenberry, wrote a poem about his manager Dick Howser, the refrain being Howser's quote for every occasion: "Piss on it." That was Howser's answer for losses, for slumps, for bad pitching performances, for anything gone wrong. Piss on it. Get 'em tomorrow.

And that's the image of the big league game: cold, hard, rub some dirt on it, walk it off, there's no crying in baseball, Texas manager Billy Martin once telling Mike Hargrove that Hargrove could not take off to attend his father-in-law's funeral because "that's not immediate family."

That's the game Bell and Baird grew up in. But on that February morning, they saw a young pitcher in pain, and they told him to go home and stop thinking about baseball. "There's business and there's personal," says Baird, now a special assistant with the Boston Red Sox. "And most times in the game, business comes ahead of personal. But I think in this situation, we were talking something bigger than business. There's right and wrong, and I don't think there was any gray area here."

Greinke took two months off, during which he was found to have social anxiety disorder, a condition marked by tension in social settings. He began taking medication, which made a big difference. He began to think more positively about baseball, too, which made a big difference. When he returned to pitch that June, at Double-A Wichita, he found himself enjoying the experience. He started to throw as hard as he could.

"I had just taken the job in Kansas City," says current Royals G.M. Dayton Moore. "I didn't even have an office. And then I get a page on my cellphone that Zack Greinke is here to see me. We sit down, talk for 30 or 40 minutes, he told me he was doing fine, but all through the conversation he kept saying that he really enjoyed being in Wichita.

"Allard Baird is not only a great evaluator [of talent], but he's also a very caring person. Buddy too. Lots of people cared about Zack."

Fourth pitch: 97-mph fastball, up and away. Ball two

Let it go. The first thing everyone noticed about the new Zack Greinke was how much harder he threw. The 89-mph fastball climbed to 98. His delivery had a couple of extra twists in it and a bit more violence. And right away, he was awfully good. He started seven games at the end of '07 and had a 1.85 ERA. In 2008 he was fifth in the league in strikeouts (183) and 10th in ERA (3.47).

Zack was still Zack, though. Another story: In 2007, when third baseman Alex Gordon was a rookie, he struggled terribly at the start. Before Gordon's seventh game, Greinke pulled his teammate into the video room and showed him a clip. It was of Greinke hitting his home run. "In case you forgot," Greinke said, "this is what a home run looks like." Gordon hit his first big league homer that night.

This year Greinke has been otherworldly. After his Friday start against Detroit, he led the league in victories (four), ERA (0.00), complete games (two), strikeouts (36) and shutouts (one), though he did give up one unearned run. "I know it's fashionable to say he learned how to pitch," Baird says, "but I don't buy it. The guy had a great feel for pitching from the start. I think he's just in a good place mentally. He wants to compete. People talk about 'Does he love to pitch?' I think he likes to pitch. But this guy loves to compete."

So what about the riddle -- the mind or the arm? Well, there are no easy answers to a good riddle. Greinke stares at Miguel Cabrera, and his mind could be telling him anything. For his fifth pitch he could throw his slow curve again, or he could throw the hard slider that's his God-given gift. He could also throw his suddenly devastating changeup -- that's the pitch he spent all of spring training throwing even though hitters battered it like crazy.

"He didn't care about the results," Moore says. "He just wanted to get a feel for the changeup. That's what's so amazing about Zack. He doesn't need the changeup to be good. He's already good. He worked on it because it can help make him great. And that's what the great ones do."

Greinke may have considered all those pitches or he may not have considered any of them. He begins his windup, turns his back to build the extra power, and he's let it go. The fastball is 96 mph. Miguel Cabrera may be the best fastball hitter in the American League, but he cannot catch up. Strikeout.

"I've come a long way," Greinke says into the camera after the game ends. That's the surprising answer to the riddle. Now Zack Greinke can let it go. He'll throw it as hard as he can, a young man in control. Sometimes the arm and mind both win.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Democrats Stop Pretending and Words Re-Gain Their Meaning

Here's the latest from R.C.'s Blogger Christian Stockel.....

Thoughts from the Right Side
May 6, 2009

The first 100 days of the Obama Administration has come and gone. While the mainstream media has spent their time shouting accolades for Obama's looks, his coolness, his dog, and his “swagga” (yes CNN hit a new low there), I have my own list of “achievements” upon which I could provide criticism – some of which I have discussed here on However, I have to admit that President Obama has been very successful in packaging a radical, leftist agenda in a moderate veneer. Obama's skill at sounding like a moderate and the Democrat's uncharacteristic discipline to stay on message have handed Republicans a string of political defeats. Fortunately, there appears to be an unlikely trend developing that provides Congressional Republicans an opportunity to seize the initiative in the public debate over key issues. It is becoming clear that Congress is even more liberal than President Obama and willing to act on their pent up desires to implement what they consider to be the “Great Society Part II”. Some members are no longer content to rely on Obama's soft euphemisms like healthcare reform, energy independence, and education investment to sell policy. They are boldly declaring their intentions without fear of being called socialist or liberal – they are seizing on the political environment as an opportunity to implement policies and programs that have been - previously - impossible to achieve politically. This change in strategy offers conservatives a rare opportunity.

One example of this can be seen in the discussions on health care reform. To date, Obama's objectives have been described in broad and comfortable terms and has managed to explain a $680 billion budget line item for healthcare as a down payment. Obama's stated objective is to lower cost and increase access (the difficulty of doing both will requires a separate discussion) yet he fails to explain that accomplishing this will require reduced levels of care spread ever more thinly among the people. During these discussions, President Obama has been careful to not utter the words single payer or National Health Service. Well it appears that some on the Democrat bench are tiring of that restriction and are ready to lay bare their plans. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has publicly, and on camera, stated that the goal of “healthcare reform” is to bankrupt private insurance and implement a single payer plan (Click on the Link to watch the video). She states her objectives boldly:

“I know many of you here today are single payer advocates and so am I … and those of us who are pushing for a public health insurance don’t disagree with this goal. This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there and I believe we will,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Granted, this is only one statement from one Congressional representative from Illinois. However, it is one of many examples illustrating a trend away from President Obama's strategy of using moderate and obtuse language to steer clear of controversy. With absolute control over the White House, Congress, and favorable polls, Congressional Democrats are losing the fear of these labels and are more open about their objectives. They are going for “the gusto”. While Representative Schakowsky's comments are grating to conservative sensibilities, we do have to see this as a positive trend that can clarify the public debate on key issues and restore the meaning and value to the words used in such a debate. Up to this point, conservatives and the Republicans have been rather ineffective to counter President Obama's lethal ability to look and sound moderate while implementing radical policies. Since the cost of Obama's budget and stimulus bill has not impacted American taxpayers, his personal poll numbers have stayed relatively high. A reasonable person can assume that as Obama's initiatives on healthcare (as well as energy and education) come into focus and the reality of their impact become clear, Obama's obtuse use of language will lose its effect on voters who are still under the impression that they elected a moderate Democrat as President. However, by the time this happens, the damage done to the country could be too much to overcome.

Republicans and conservatives should take advantage of the new clarity in language offered by the Democrats and contrast them with clear, bold, and Conservative approaches to healthcare, energy, the economy, and entitlements. Conservatives have a small opportunity to pull the curtain back and expose the charade that is this Administration and the current Democrat party. More importantly, we need to illustrate the ultimate impacts of these policies in ways that overcome the seductive power of offering people something for nothing. Once voters are provided with an understanding of what the Administration's proposals mean to their freedom, their property, and control over their lives, it will be easier to make an alternative argument and increase resistance towards government expansion and the populist arguments that have defined the Obama administration thus far. Clarity will reveal President Obama and Congressional Democrats as the same old liberals that has haunted Washington DC since the days of FDR.

President Obama and the Democrat's in Congress have achieved significant political gains through the clever use of language, obfuscation, and moderate terminology to package their policies and disguise their real objectives. Obama was successful in convincing a large segment of the voting population that he was a Reganesque moderate Democrat. His policy initiatives were couched in vague terms like healthcare reform (i.e., government healthcare), energy independence (i.e., ban on domestic drilling, nuclear power, and a push to buy Dutch windmills), and education investment (federalizing K-12 education and the elimination of private schools). Obama has been able to convince the American people that he is not interested in running corporations. Meanwhile he fires the CEO of General Motors and hands over American industrial icons over to the Treasury and labor unions. His skill at oratory in general and the ability to sell the American people one thing while doing another in particular is a core pillar of Obama's political strength. It seems the Democrats are feeling confident about the political environment to abandon his strategy and to go “naked” with their plans. This is an opening that must be exploited if Republicans are to begin their long journey back to political relevance.

History has shown that liberals succeed when they disguise their policies in moderate and dishonest language. Conservatives thrive when they use clear, concise, and bold language. Recently, Republicans have tried to use the same strategy as the Democrats in an effort to seem more moderate resulting in a muddled message. It is time to change the playing field back to our advantage. I just hope there are still members in the Republican party with the intellect and the backbone to do so.

Audaces fortuna iuvat

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Limbaugh, Ryan, and "33 Minutes" Highlight Heritage Foundation's President's Club Events in Washington

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my 11th Heritage Foundation President's Club Meeting at the Ronald Reagan Building (where else?) in Washington. Here are some of the highlights from yesterday's events and my perspectives:

  • Attended the Young President's Club (YPC) luncheon with about 200 YPC members in attendance, about double the total who showed up to the November 2008 luncheon. Heritage announced that it is starting a new YPC membership drive to attract even greater numbers. The lunch talk featured Rob Bluey, Director of Online Strategy at Heritage, and Katherine Jean Lopez, National Review Online Editor. Kudos to John Fogarty, Director of Donor Relations, and his staff at Heritage for really trying to make a dent in the youth movement at Heritage. This has been an observed "gap" of Heritage's for many years and is an issue that I have written to Heritage senior executives about in the past. Glad to see they are finally going after the 18-25 demographic.

  • After lunch and back in the main hall, Heritage Foundation President Dr. Ed Feulner discussed the current state of Conservatism in Washington and what activities are underway and planned at Heritage. He noted that Heritage has been working very hard over the past year to ramp up its Internet 2.0 efforts, which includes social networking on Facebook and Twitter. He was especially proud to announce that Heritage has added more than 110,000 new members to its rolls in the past year. In addition, the conference dinner would be attended by more than 1,000 members, the largest attended Heritage President's Club dinner ever. Of that total, about 250 YPC members would be attending.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was most definitely the highlight of the early afternoon session as he provided his thoughts and ideas on Jack Kemp (whom he worked for...), the Obama Administration, and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, to name a few. He is extremely articulate, has a solid game plan for addressing the Obama spending and tax plans, and looks like the "real deal" as a future national player in the Conservative Party. He received a standing ovation from the packed ballroom following his no-notes, no-teleprompter speech.

  • In the late afternoon, Heritage members were treated to a viewing of the 60-minute version of "33 Minutes -- Protecting America in the New Missile Age", a documentary highlighting the need for a missile defense system. This is one of the most intense and convincing political documentaries of all time and should be seen by all Americans. If you have not seen the film, please visit the site (link above) and watch the trailer on-line. Better yet, sign up to get information about local showings in your area of the country. Heritage is in negotiations with several networks regarding on-air viewings. Great job by Heritage on this important issue!

  • Before the dinner reception, I had the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Heritage's Senior Communications Fellow Rebecca Hagelin's new book, "30 Ways in 30 Day to Save Your Family". Rebecca has been an invaluable asset to Heritage over the past several years as its VP for Communications. Most recently, she served as Executive Producer of "33 Minutes" and now has written her second book on pro-family issues.

  • The nightcap of the day's events, as always, is the dinner and keynote speech. Before a packed atrium at the Reagan Building, Dr. Feulner welcomed the group and made special mention of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' attendance, which drew a standing ovation from the audience. Unfortunately, Rush Limbaugh was running late for the event, but did get there after the dinner and dessert and hit a home run with an hour-long speech. The message of his speech is that the Conservative Party/Reagan Revolution is not dead and that the party needs to be a leader and teacher for Americans about First Principles and why much of the Obama plan will not work. He stressed that we cannot simply go out and ask Americans what they want and build a party platform around those responses. I will try and post portions of Rush's speech as they become available on the Net.
This year's Heritage Foundation President's Club Spring Meeting provided a tremendous boost to Conservatives who might be depressed over what has transpired in Washington since January 20. Although Conservatives are down right now, it was stressed throughout the day that the political tides can change VERY quickly in Washington depending on which way the wind (and economy...) are blowing. As always, Dr. Feulner and his entire staff at Heritage put on a fantastic show. I'm already looking forward to the November meeting!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quarterback Jack

Jack Kemp, a longtime pro-life advocate, Vice-Presidential hopeful, and member of the Reagan Revolution, passed away over the weekend.

Kemp was originally known as a NFL football player and parlayed his success there into a career as a New York congressman. In Washington, Kemp maintain a consistent pro-life record and served a term as housing secretary for President George H.W. Bush.

Kemp became a hero for both pro-life and economic conservatives and a large segment of the pro-life movement hoped he would become the Republican presidential standard-bearer. Eventually, he made it onto the national ticket as Bob Dole's running-mate against pro-abortion President Bill Clinton in 1992. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Kemp "one of the nation's most distinguished public servants. Jack was a powerful voice in American politics for more than four decades." Kemp's name remains on the Kemp-Kasten amendment, an anti-coercion population control provision that prohibits funding of any groups that engage in or support forced abortion programs.

Here is the latest on Kemp's passing from "National Review":

A Democrat tells the story. Some time in the 1980s, there was a big GOP bash in D.C. The Democrat (a neighbor) watched the glittering elephants arrive, one of them being Jack Kemp, who, alone among the guests, stopped to chat up the cops on duty outside before going in. He did it with the manly bonhomie of an ex-jock and the ease of a born politician. Oh, no, thought the Democrat gloomily, another Republican with the common touch.

The other Republican the Kemp-watcher had in mind was Ronald Reagan, and the two men’s careers were intertwined. As a young congressman from the suburbs of Buffalo, Kemp was instrumental in converting Reagan to supply-side economics in the late 1970s. He backed Reagan in the 1980 election and backed his program to the hilt in the House — more strongly, sometimes, than Reagan himself. Many conservatives (including the editors of this magazine) saw him as Reagan’s heir.

Kemp was an autodidact. He focused on sports in his early life, becoming quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the old AFL. Yet he nourished a nascent interest in politics by reading, reading, reading — WFB, Ayn Rand, economics, history. He honored ideas with the fervor of a young lover. His second passion, equal to his devotion to tax cuts, was his concern for black advancement. This was part conviction, part experience: As his friend Newt Gingrich liked to say, Jack had showered with people that most Republicans never meet. Kemp believed that the party of Lincoln had to regain its role as the champion of black America. The welfare state had not completed the civil-rights revolution; free-enterprise programs targeted at the inner city (such as enterprise zones) would do the trick instead.

Kemp never completed the touchdown drive of his career. When he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, he was squeezed between Vice President George H.W. Bush and the Rev. Pat Robertson. Bush tapped Kemp to be his secretary of housing and urban development, where he served loyally even after Bush abandoned the tax-cutting gospel. When Bob Dole tapped Kemp to be his running mate in 1996, it came as a shock — Kemp already seemed emeritus — and indeed his campaign did the ticket no good and him little credit.

He had his flaws: a vein of pep-talk oratory that bled and bled; a tendency to pat himself on the back for his racial views (the wages of virtue can be as corrupting as the wages of sin); an indifference to the effects of 25 (and 35, and soon 45) years of unrestricted immigration, legal and illegal. But he was a bright and earnest man, and a great friend of NR — and did anyone else ever have his enthusiasm? Churchill said that being with FDR was like having a glass of champagne. Being with Jack Kemp was like chugging a can of Red Bull. How could someone so alive be gone? And yet it is so. R.I.P.

Kemp also wrote a letter to his 17 grandchildren following the election of Barack Obama:

A Letter to my Grandchildren
November 12, 2008

Dear Kemp grandchildren -- all 17 of you, spread out from the East Coast to the West Coast, and from Wheaton College in Illinois, to Wake Forest University in North Carolina:

My first thought last week upon learning that a 47-year-old African-American Democrat had won the presidency was, "Is this a great country or not?"

You may have expected your grandfather to be disappointed that his friend John McCain lost (and I was), but there's a difference between disappointment over a lost election and the historical perspective of a monumental event in the life of our nation.

Let me explain. First of all, the election was free, fair and transformational, in terms of our democracy and given the history of race relations in our nation.

What do I mean?

Just think, a little over 40 years ago, blacks in America had trouble even voting in our country, much less thinking about running for the highest office in the land.

A little over 40 years ago, in some parts of America, blacks couldn't eat, sleep or even get a drink of water using facilities available to everyone else in the public sphere.

We are celebrating, this year, the 40th anniversary of our Fair Housing Laws, which helped put an end to the blatant racism and prejudice against blacks in rental housing and homeownership opportunities.

As an old professional football quarterback, in my days there were no black coaches, no black quarterbacks, and certainly no blacks in the front offices of football and other professional sports. For the record, there were great black quarterbacks and coaches -- they just weren't given the opportunity to showcase their talent. And pro-football (and America) was the worse off for it.

I remember quarterbacking the old San Diego Chargers and playing for the AFL championship in Houston. My father sat on the 50-yard line, while my co-captain's father, who happened to be black, had to sit in a small, roped-off section of the end zone. Today, we can't imagine the NFL without the amazing contributions of blacks at every level of this great enterprise.

I could go on and on, but just imagine that in the face of all these indignities and deprivations, Dr. Martin Luther King could say 44 years ago, "I have an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in mankind." He described his vision for America, even as he and his people were being denied their God-given human rights guaranteed under our Constitution.

You see, real leadership is not just seeing the realities of what we are temporarily faced with, but seeing the possibilities and potential that can be realized by lifting up peoples' vision of what they can be.

When President-elect Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln on the night of his election, he was acknowledging the transcendent qualities of vision and leadership that are always present, but often overlooked and neglected by pettiness, partisanship and petulance. As president, I believe Barack Obama can help lift us out of a narrow view of America into the ultimate vision of an America where, if you're born to be a mezzo-soprano or a master carpenter, nothing stands in your way of realizing your God-given potential.

Both Obama in his Chicago speech, and McCain in his marvelous concession speech, rose to this historic occasion by celebrating the things that unite us irrespective of our political party, our race or our socio-economic background.

My advice for you all is to understand that unity for our nation doesn't require uniformity or unanimity; it does require putting the good of our people ahead of what's good for mere political or personal advantage.

The party of Lincoln, (i.e., the GOP), needs to rethink and revisit its historic roots as a party of emancipation, liberation, civil rights and equality of opportunity for all. On the other hand, the party of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and now Obama must put forth an agenda that understands that getting American growing again will require both Keynesian and classical incentive-oriented (supply-side) economic ideas. But there's time for political and economic advice in a later column (or two).

Let me end with an equally great historical irony of this election. Next year, as Obama is sworn in as our 44th president, we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. I'm serving, along with former Rep. Bill Gray of Pennsylvania, on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Board to help raise funds for this historic occasion. President-elect Obama's honoring of Lincoln in many of his speeches reminds us of how vital it is to elevate these ideas and ideals to our nation's consciousness and inculcate his principles at a time of such great challenges and even greater opportunities.

In fact, we kick off the Lincoln bicentennial celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Gettysburg, Pa. The great filmmaker Ken Burns will speak at the Soldier's National Cemetery on the 145th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. On Thursday, Nov. 20, at Gettysburg College, we will have the first of 10 town hall forums, titled "Race, Freedom and Equality of Opportunity." I have the high honor of joining Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Professor Allen Guezlo and Norman Bristol-Colon on the panel, with Professor Charles Branham as the moderator.

President-elect Obama talks of Abraham Lincoln's view of our nation as an "unfinished work." Well, isn't that equally true of all of us? Therefore let all of us strive to help him be a successful president, so as to help make America an even greater nation. is an independent site and is not affiliated with any official web sites, associations, or organizations associated with President Reagan. Any views expressed or content included on this site do not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of any of the organizations or individuals named, linked, or advertised.

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