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Kondracke, Barnes: Jack Kemp Would Be 'Appalled' By GOP Race

Jack Kemp (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 09 October 2015 02:51 PM

Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes, co-authors of a new book on Jack Kemp, tell Newsmax TV the beloved NFL quarterback-turned-Republican superstar would be "appalled" at the state of the 2016 presidential contest.

"He would hate it. He was a positive guy, the most important, positive, energetic, optimistic, idealistic, big tent inclusive, and not a name caller," Kondracke told "The Hard Line" with Ed Berliner, in an interview aired Friday.

"He was the antithesis of Donald Trump in practically every way except high energy. So I think he would be perfectly appalled. He would want the Republican Party to be concentrating on ideas that would make life better for ordinary Americans."

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Kemp would disagree with the billionaire developer and current GOP presidential front-runner on "many, many things," Barnes added.

"Starting with immigration and particularly deportation and things like that, eminent domain, I can think of many things. But the difference between Jack Kemp and other Republicans today — and certainly with Donald Trump — is that Kemp was a uniter," Barnes said.

"If Kemp were here now he could unite the House Republican conference that nobody else seems to be able to do. That's what Republican desperately need in the House, someone to unite them."

Kondracke and Barnes' book, "Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America," published by Sentinel, chronicles Kemp's rise from sports-crazed youth in Los Angeles to influential GOP lawmaker on Capitol Hill and Housing Secretary under President George H.W. Bush.

A player with and captain of both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, Kemp began dabbling in politics as a volunteer in both Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign and Ronald Reagan's 1966 California gubernatorial campaign.

He later served as a U.S. congressman from New York from 1971 to 1989, was chairman of the Republican House Conference and was named U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Kemp was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

"He always believed that if you worked hard enough at something and tried hard enough, you could do anything you wanted to do," Kondracke said.

"He was raised a Christian Scientist — he wasn't when he was in Washington — but that's part of the thought process of Christian scientists, that you can do anything you think you can do and so he did it on the football field."

"He could be behind 35 to nothing in the fourth quarter and tell his team, 'we can still pull this one out.'"

He carried that ideology to Capitol Hill, according to Kondracke.

"When he went to Congress, he was determined that he was going to sell supply-side economics. He had to convince the old bulls who didn't believe in it," he said.

"The idea was that the party needed something positive to be in favor of after they'd lost the elections in 1974 and '76 and he gave them that positive agenda."

Barnes said Kemp brought some of what he learned in football to politics.

"Kemp did what he thought a quarterback was supposed to do. A quarterback was in charge, the quarterback had to have a vision of how to produce victory and he had to convince the other members of his team that he could lead them there," Barnes said.

"Kemp put together – to promote the supply-side tax cuts that were eventually adopted by Ronald Reagan and just transformed the country economically – a movement of economists, even columnists like Robert Novak, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, young members of the House like Newt Gingrich and Connie Mack.

"He really put together an entire movement that showed that he was an extraordinary leader."

Kemp would have brought a positive face to the 2016 presidential campaign, the authors believe.

"Kemp was all about growth and tax reform is what we need, both lower rates, but also loophole closing. I mean the tax code has been loaded up by lobbyists and special interests with all kinds of special breaks that are making the economy inefficient," Kondracke told Berliner.

Would Kemp be able to cut through the gridlock and lead in 2016?

"Boy, I would like to think so but there's a lot of bull that's going on that you have to fight. I mean [Ohio Gov.] John Kasich is pretty good, he's not as energetic, he's not as charismatic as Kemp was, but he's pretty close and he's at the moment pretty far down the list," Kondracke said.

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Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes, co-authors of a new book on Jack Kemp, tell Newsmax TV the beloved NFL quarterback-turned-Republican superstar would be "appalled" at the state of the 2016 presidential contest.
jack kemp, fred barnes, morton kondracke, gop
Friday, 09 October 2015 02:51 PM
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