This morning we see the cover of the upcoming issue of The Weekly Standard. The story, The Kemp Era, by Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke, is a brief offering of some of the content of their recent book about Jack Kemp.
When Republicans became the party of growth and tax cuts
Excerpt from article:
Indeed, a dramatic beginning had been made. Kemp had gone from being a newcomer to a driving force in the party. He was building a national reputation. He hadn’t achieved his goals, but he was advancing a revolutionary bill. The question now was whether he or another candidate would carry his radical ideas forward into the highest office in the country.
‘Jack should run for president. The future of Western civilization depends on it!” Jude Wanniski, ever volatile and Kemp’s biggest supporter, voiced this opinion at a gathering of Kemp supporters as the 1980 primaries approached. He was hyperbolic, but not alone in his conviction. In 1978, Irving Kristol told journalist Martin Tolchin that Republicans didn’t want another Ford-Reagan race and were ready to move on to a new generation, with Kemp “the best able to communicate with the American people.” Former CBS president Frank Shakespeare, ex-Reagan policy adviser Jeff Bell, and former ambassador Larry Silberman began commissioning polls and plotting strategy. Ronald Reagan was considered the top contender for the nomination, but the supply-siders weren’t convinced he could be trusted. He certainly wouldn’t be more faithful to the cause than Jack Kemp.
Kemp had been the Republican star of 1978, and he spent 1979 tirelessly evangelizing for his tax-cut plan. But he gave his presidential boosters no serious encouragement. He wanted to support Reagan for president. The only question was whether Kemp-Roth rate cuts would be the centerpiece of Reagan’s campaign. If Reagan committed, Kemp would be on board. In the meantime, he kept his options open, worrying Reagan’s people that he might run for the nomination and at least cut into Reagan’s support.
Read the entire article here.