A Tennessee Reader Recalls Jack Kemp`s Hostility (While Running For President!) To Confederate Flag
May 06, 2009, 05:00 AM
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From: Bob Kudzu (e-mail him)

Re: Peter Brimelow's Column: In Memoriam: Jack Kemp—His Moment Came And Went. What About America's?

A successful conservative activist I know, I'll call him Bill Smith, recounted a revealing story about the late Congressman Jack Kemp.

Back in the late 1980s when Kemp was preparing his run for the Presidency, it fell to Smith to pick him up at the airport to attend an annual political dinner in our small Tennessee city.

Smith is smart, decent and amiable. During their drive to the hotel where the dinner was held, they chatted about football until they passed a small business that flew a Confederate flag.

Kemp became agitated. He said that the flag represented pure hatred. He went on, his voice rising, and expressed amazement that anybody would display "that thing." You might say he was pitching a fit.

Abruptly, Smith pulled into the nearest parking lot, killed the engine, and forcefully reminded a startled Kemp where he was, and why he was there (to curry votes), and that not everybody in this particular Tennessee town cared to hear his misbegotten opinions on Confederate symbols.

In fact, Smith continued, he had quite a few Confederate ancestors who fought in the War Between the States, and he was damned proud of each and every one of them.

Smith concluded by suggesting that Kemp best not act like a complete jackass while in our city.

Kemp held his tongue the rest of the way. He even managed to keep his thoughts about the Confederate flag to himself during his after-dinner speech.

But it did him no good. Smith, an unassuming but influential man, saw to it that word spread about the way Kemp had shot his mouth off.

That, as they say, was that. Kemp was through in these parts.

Kudzu is a freelance writer.