June 18, 2013 | 97 comments
June 13, 2013 | 54 comments
June 11, 2013 | 214 comments
June 6, 2013 | 91 comments
June 4, 2013 | 55 comments
Reagan, Kemp, and Mark Levin: Natural Rights and a challenge to moral superiority.
(Page 4 of 6)
Kemp’s role here was in fact historic.
But Jack Kemp has one other serious political achievement to his credit aside from being the “Godfather of Reaganomics.”
Jack Kemp began doing something that was long overdue: de-compassionating the Left.
Which is to say, as that Tip O’Neill quote about liberals being “the guardians” of working people and the poor illustrated, liberals have long connected the role of government to moral superiority.
Jack Kemp would have none of it. Not for a moment would he yield the moral high ground to socialism much less Marxism.
He never hesitated, for example, to challenge the idea that the American Left somehow had a moral claim to leadership in civil rights. He would remind, as he always called them, “our friends on the Left” that they had been “mired in Reconstruction mentality, (and had been) implicit defenders of white supremacy, the Solid South and the Ku Klux Klan.” In a speech at Harvard he looked his liberal audience straight in the eye and said of his pro-growth, pro-capitalism policies that they were a “moral obligation” to our fellow Americans.
A Jack Kemp speech wasn’t complete without describing left-wing policies as “paternalistic” or “condescending” or “elitist.” “Manic egalitarians” as he once called leftists. He believed passionately in free markets and economic growth as a pillar of a moral society. “You can’t enrich poor nations by impoverishing their people,” he would say in a 1990 speech to “The Wealth of Nations” Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Typically direct in addressing both American and international leftists Kemp added:
“The key to wealth and prosperity is allowing people freedom — freedom to work, to save, freedom to own their own property and homes, to succeed, and yes, to fail, but try again. The ultimate cause of the wealth of nations, and indeed, the wealth of cities, is people.”
It is thus no surprise to hear Paul Ryan confront his critics directly, just as Jack Kemp once did, to look them in the eye and challenge the morality of big government liberalism. In a speech at Georgetown University in April of this year, Ryan took on President Obama exactly in the style of his former boss Kemp. Challenging Obama on what Ryan called the “moral implications” of Obama’s policies Ryan noted that:
“He [President Obama] does not seem to understand that he can’t promote the common good by setting class against class, or group against group.
Saying as well:
“My mentor, Jack Kemp, used to say, ‘you can’t help America’s poor by making America poor.’”
What Jack Kemp accomplished in his life was to begin what might be called the “de-compassionating of the Left.” Stripping the Left naked of its boastful, smug claims to moral superiority. Without doubt, the Left of today understands perfectly well that Paul Ryan is continuing that battle — which is exactly why the attacks on Ryan have already been so brutal. And will get worse.
Last but not least with Paul Ryan?
• Mark Levin: Since being formally presented as the Romney choice for vice president the other day, Congressman Ryan has been saying something as rare as it is notable. I have put in bold the key phrase:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?