Sorry Ann, Jack Kemp was Right

Ann Coulter had a nasty little piece of historical revisionism in her column on Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan, proving that now more than ever we conservatives need to understand the real political history of how Republicans lost out on the Hispanic and Asian vote in places like California.

Now, I am an unabashed Kemp guy, (I even got him to personally autograph my copy of An American Renaissance) but I will freely accept that in his later years Jack Kemp could get cranky and unhelpful on the issue of minority outreach and his effort on the ticket with Dole in 1996 was sadly lacking. That said, Kemp was maybe the only one back in 1994 who truly recognized the PR disaster the cynical Pete Wilson cooked up in 1994 with Prop 187. Kemp correctly stated at the time none of Wilson’s measures could make it past the courts and would only wind up rebounding against the California GOP; something that happened almost immediately. (It is also important to note that Pete Wilson was governor for 8 years, and he had all the power he needed to end the illegal immigration magnet in California, simply by having his state tax department crack down on employers submitting phony social security numbers with their payroll records, rather than go through with a polarizing referendum fight.) 

Coulter also claims Kemp never actually did anything for America’s racial minorities. Really? Ever hear of the Kemp-Roth bill, supply side economics, and a-rising-tide-lifts-all-boats? All the modern pro-growth, low-tax Republican policies of the last generation were possible only by Jack Kemp’s great leadership; and Jack was one of the very first visionaries of today’s school choice movement, calling it the real “civil rights movement “.
 
Jack was also the most tireless recruiter of minority candidates to the GOP, helping bring black Republicans back into Congress in the 1990s. Jack knew there was no substitute for having attractive, articulate people from every part of the American community speaking up for conservative values. As we add to our number of Tim Scotts and Mia Loves, Jack deserves some kudos for getting the ball rolling. 
 
Coulter also wildly twists Paul Ryan’s words on his 2001 conversation with Dick Cheney, implying Ryan was pushing some pie-in-the-sky minority giveaway. The reality was that Ryan just wanted social security reform for everybody centered on private accounts for at least part of one’s contributions. Cheney did dismiss him at the time, and then 4 years later, he, Karl Rove, and President Bush made a lame attempt at something similar but with so many problems, it collapsed immediately.
 
Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, and a lot of other conservative commentators have done the country a great service the last few months in treating the immigration amnesty crowd and their destructive ideas with the utter contempt they deserve. Perhaps the country can finally recognize our immigration system isn’t “broken”, just purposely neglected; and the more open our borders, the less opportunity for our poorest natives. But those are subsidiary points in the end.
 
Back in the 1980s, Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan understood the Republicans only prosper if the average person -- and that includes a lot of ethnic minority Americans -- believed that he and his family do best in a country built on free enterprise and limited government. If that argument cannot today again be made and won by our leaders, it won’t matter how much barbed wire gets put up on the Mexican border.
 
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville KY.

Ann Coulter had a nasty little piece of historical revisionism in her column on Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan, proving that now more than ever we conservatives need to understand the real political history of how Republicans lost out on the Hispanic and Asian vote in places like California.

Now, I am an unabashed Kemp guy, (I even got him to personally autograph my copy of An American Renaissance) but I will freely accept that in his later years Jack Kemp could get cranky and unhelpful on the issue of minority outreach and his effort on the ticket with Dole in 1996 was sadly lacking. That said, Kemp was maybe the only one back in 1994 who truly recognized the PR disaster the cynical Pete Wilson cooked up in 1994 with Prop 187. Kemp correctly stated at the time none of Wilson’s measures could make it past the courts and would only wind up rebounding against the California GOP; something that happened almost immediately. (It is also important to note that Pete Wilson was governor for 8 years, and he had all the power he needed to end the illegal immigration magnet in California, simply by having his state tax department crack down on employers submitting phony social security numbers with their payroll records, rather than go through with a polarizing referendum fight.) 

Coulter also claims Kemp never actually did anything for America’s racial minorities. Really? Ever hear of the Kemp-Roth bill, supply side economics, and a-rising-tide-lifts-all-boats? All the modern pro-growth, low-tax Republican policies of the last generation were possible only by Jack Kemp’s great leadership; and Jack was one of the very first visionaries of today’s school choice movement, calling it the real “civil rights movement “.
 
Jack was also the most tireless recruiter of minority candidates to the GOP, helping bring black Republicans back into Congress in the 1990s. Jack knew there was no substitute for having attractive, articulate people from every part of the American community speaking up for conservative values. As we add to our number of Tim Scotts and Mia Loves, Jack deserves some kudos for getting the ball rolling. 
 
Coulter also wildly twists Paul Ryan’s words on his 2001 conversation with Dick Cheney, implying Ryan was pushing some pie-in-the-sky minority giveaway. The reality was that Ryan just wanted social security reform for everybody centered on private accounts for at least part of one’s contributions. Cheney did dismiss him at the time, and then 4 years later, he, Karl Rove, and President Bush made a lame attempt at something similar but with so many problems, it collapsed immediately.
 
Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, and a lot of other conservative commentators have done the country a great service the last few months in treating the immigration amnesty crowd and their destructive ideas with the utter contempt they deserve. Perhaps the country can finally recognize our immigration system isn’t “broken”, just purposely neglected; and the more open our borders, the less opportunity for our poorest natives. But those are subsidiary points in the end.
 
Back in the 1980s, Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan understood the Republicans only prosper if the average person -- and that includes a lot of ethnic minority Americans -- believed that he and his family do best in a country built on free enterprise and limited government. If that argument cannot today again be made and won by our leaders, it won’t matter how much barbed wire gets put up on the Mexican border.
 
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville KY.