Kemp’s Comeback

by John J. Miller on November 15, 2009

in Explore the Vault

  • Sumo

A year ago, as Republicans and conservatives reeled in the aftermath of Democrat election victories, I wrote an article about how Jack Kemp and a merry band of supply-siders responded to a previous electoral disaster, in 1976:

Instead of behaving as powerless members of a vanishing minority party, Kemp and his allies helped create the conditions for Reagan’s success. They pushed an agenda of supply-side tax cuts that redefined their party’s economic principles and shifted American politics rightward. Much of their achievement was rooted in the particular circumstances of the late 1970s, but their accomplishment also suggests that today’s GOP — battered by the blows of November 4 — is far from helpless if it will only show the determination to turn its current dilemma into a new opportunity.

I tried to interview Kemp for this piece, but we failed to connect. He died last May. Five years ago, I blogged on the excitement among some conservatives when Bob Dole selected Kemp as his running mate in 1996. (The occasion for this item was the vice-presidential candidacy of John Edwards.)


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