So many people have so many good stories about Jack Kemp that I won’t take too much time adding my own few tales of the times I had chances to interact with him. The funniest, in retrospect, is the time I did NOT meet Kemp. As an alternate delegate to the GOP national convention in 1988 in my hometown of New Orleans, I was performing all sorts of host duties in addition to my alternate delegate duties, plus I was helping some national folks organize a “Draft Kemp” for VP movement on the convention floor. And, finally, as the guy with the local knowledge of all the New Orleans street routes, etc., I was scheduled to be Kemp’s driver after he got into town, all day the Tuesday of the convention.
One problem: I had had mononucleosis earlier that summer and, with me absolutely knocking myself out in convention-related stuff in the week leading to the convention, I came down with a relapse that Monday night. Tuesday morning, I literally had trouble lifting my head off the pillow, much less going to pick Kemp up. I ended up forcing myself to call my brother, who is entirely apolitical, and getting him to be the chauffeur for Kemp all day – while I lay in bed, trying to recuperate. So I missed my chance to spend a lot of time with Kemp, much to my chagrin. Oh, well…..
Anyway, I’ll have a column out soon on Kemp’s legacy. He was a great and good man. The United States is very much in his debt. For that matter, so are lovers of freedom throughout the world. His infectious enthusiasm was unmatched. He was an apostle of hope and freedom. We were blessed to have him as a public servant. Very fondly, R.I.P.
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