Tuesday, May 05, 2009

S'long, Jack

Did you catch the report of the three bigshot Republicans who went out to "listen" to the locals? They traveled from our nation's capital all the way to Alexandria, Virginia, which may require a half hour or so of trekking, depending on traffic. This is the equivalent of declaring you want to see the nation outside Chicago, then deciding Cicero is far enough. Even Rush made fun of it, but I admit that Mitt Romney looked like he was in new territory when the trio set up shop in a pizza joint. It's the type of place where they can tell if someone doen't have the "common touch", even if some political "advance guy" told you to take off the tie. Did they "hear" anything on this little jaunt? I'm thinking - nope.

Driving around town, I sometimes tune in the radio talk shows just to hear the day's talking points. Laura Ingraham was her usual mocking self, but the target was an on-air conversation between Larry King and Barbara Walters. I had to agree they sounded kind of silly, but I also couldn't imagine Laura drawing much of an audience if this was all she had to talk about. Just think - she has to do three hours of this stuff every weekday. Oy.

Most of you should know the name Jack Kemp. He was Bob Dole's running mate in 1996. He was a well-known member of the House at the time, and when it was over he was credited for having added to the ticket, even though Dole lost that one. It was to me the last campaign that didn't feature loads of personal nastiness and ugly rumors.
You may have also noticed that he just died at age 73. But what you may not have known is that Kemp was one of those few people who was famous even before he entered politics. He was the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills through most of the 1960's, and it was from Buffalo that he found his way into Congress as a Republican congressman. From there he developed a reputation as a kind of one-man think tank, supplying the Party with a steady stream of new ideas on all kinds of issues. He was, in fact, the better kind of Republican your fathers would have admired.
But then again, when people pass on, someone has to decide how big an event this is, and where to put it in the paper or the news. In our paper, the poor guy landed back in the sports section, probably on someone's hunch that more folks would remember him tossing the football around a long gone stadium than as a candidate for the nation's second-highest office. I can't say I was watching, but I assume he got a better billing on the TV networks, which are not, thank heaven, run by the sports guys. S'long, Jack.


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